Research & Data

Female veterinarian examining orange kitten on table

Vet Shortage and Compensation Survey Data

An online survey was conducted in February 2020 to better understand the veterinarian shortage and impact on shelters and organizations. A total of 208 respondents completed the survey, representing a variety of organizational types and regions of the country. 

Vet shortage response by org type table

Veterinarians on staff

The survey shows that 87.5% of all organizations that responded have or plan to have veterinarian(s) on staff either full- or part-time. Rescue organizations were most likely to not have or not plan to have veterinarians on staff (33% vs. 12.5% for all organizational types). The majority of organizations having or planning to have a veterinarian (64%), have more than one full- or part-time veterinarian on staff. 

Vets on staff by org type chart

The majority of the organizations (71%) employ their veterinarians as full-time employees. Where independent contractors are used, they are most often employed part-time (39%).

The average salary for veterinarians of the organizations responding is $97,869. This is minimally (1.5%) higher than ZipRecruiter's published average veterinarian salary ($96,489), which indicates that veterinarians working in shelters and with rescue groups are compensated at similar rates as the rest of the industry.

Vacation/PTO, paid holidays, pay for continuing education, and pay for state vet license are benefits provided by more than three-fourths of organizations responding. 


Veterinarians in the largest percentage of organizations oversee between 1,000 and 4,999 animals annually (35% of full-time veterinarians and 24% of part-time veterinarians). Almost half of organizations indicate that full-time veterinarians oversee between 20 and 39 spay/neuter surgeries each day. 

The national veterinary shortage is impacting 56% of organizations, with 22% saying they are impacted a lot and 34% saying they are impacted a great deal. Animal control and rescue organizations appear to be impacted the most, as well as organizations in the Northeast, Pacific, and South Central regions. 

Vet shortage impact chart by org type

Ways to support

Organizations indicated that the most useful resources for hiring veterinarians are lists of places to advertise and training for new veterinarians. 

Resources needed for vet recruitment chart

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