There’s been a lot of buzz going around about Walmart integrating veterinary clinics into its stores. My first thought was, “WHAT!” I thought it was strange to have eye doctors in the stores and never would have imagined there being veterinary clinics. According to CNBC, Walmart aims to have 100 veterinary clinics open in its stores within the next 12 months. Today, there are already 21 stores operating in six states and by the end of June, they plan to open nine new clinics in Dallas-Fort Worth. These clinics are a partnership between Walmart and VetIQ Petcare, a pet health and wellness company.
The services provided through VetIQ Petcare through Walmart clinics aim to make “personalized pet care easy and affordable.” The services listed on their site includes health exams, blood panels, diagnostic testing, vaccinations, microchipping, deworming, nail trims, anal gland expressions, treatment of minor illnesses and prescriptions. You’re probably wondering how this process will work, right? Well, according to VetIQ Petcare’s website, it starts by filling out a free online Pet Wellness Report which will aim to gain insight on a pet. From there, your pet will come into a Walmart VetIQ Petcare clinic to have their report reviewed and will then receive a $10 pet wellness check-up from a veterinarian. The cost for their services can be easily accessed online and are broken down into wellness check-ups, vaccine packages, individual vaccines, puppy/kitten vaccines, everyday care, and minor illness care.
As someone who has really started to jump into the world of business and how it impacts us as future veterinarians, this business model is intriguing yet questionable. Since I have little knowledge or information about these clinics and their business models, I do not feel like I know enough to form a solid opinion on this topic. I hope this opportunity allows more people to access veterinary care who are unable to otherwise because any pet healthcare is better than none at all. Some of the questions I have revolve around how these clinics will impact competing practices in the area and how veterinarians in these settings will be compensated. Will these veterinarian’s salaries be comparable to other corporate-owned practices? Will we see a shift in clients opting for more services through these clinics rather than their primary veterinarian?
What are your thoughts? Comment below!