2024 Predictions for the Veterinary Industry From 9 Professionals You Should Follow
It’s hard to believe that another year is coming to an end. Here at Instinct, we’re so thankful for all our customers and veterinary colleagues around the globe, and we’re as excited as ever to start a new year focused on caring for the caretakers of the world’s greatest veterinary hospitals.
As 2024 approaches, we thought we’d take a look at the ol’ crystal ball and share another round of predictions. However, since I only scored 3.5 out of 5 on my predictions for 2023 (if we’re being generous), I decided to seek wisdom from other experts in the field this time around.
These veterinary professionals were kind enough to share their predictions and hopes with us for this article, as many of them already do in their own newsletters, podcasts, and blogs. As you’ll see, we ended up with a pretty amazing mix of humorous, aspirational, and thought-provoking hopes and predictions for our industry in the new year.
Matthew Asciutto, DVM, MS
ER Relief Veterinarian, Educator, Entertainer
In 2024, at least three computers will be destroyed at the hands of frustrated veterinarians after dictation software repeatedly transforms the word hemangiosarcoma into “Heeman’s chinos are from Omaha.”
As discussion about the utility of mid-level practitioners in veterinary medicine increases, 15% more doctors will express strong opinions on the matter without first asking a veterinary technician about their perspective.
With the increased prevalence of telehealth in veterinary medicine, more people than ever before will willingly perform digital rectal exams on their own pets.
Annie Chavent, DVM, MBA
Assistant Director, Student Initiatives | Membership & Field Services, AVMA
I’m going to go bold and proclaim 2024 “The Year of the Horse (Vet).”
It’s no secret that equine practice has been struggling with recruitment and retention, but a couple of exciting things give me hope:
- The AAEP’s Commission on Equine Veterinary Sustainability now has over a year under its belt, and there are some incredibly talented and action-oriented volunteers on their five subcommittees.
- Unique on-call models are emerging (see NC State and Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center), and thankfully, clients seem to be embracing the change.
I’m not so naïve as to say that all our problems will be solved by December 31, 2024, but I’d like to look back a few more wrinkles and gray hairs later and say, “That was the year things really started to change.”
Marci Kirk, DVM
Associate Director for Recent Graduate Initiatives, AVMA
My hope for the profession in 2024 is that we will fully embrace the incredible power of communication.
There has been growing awareness of the impact communication has on our colleagues and clients, and resources that highlight the role of communication in the workplace—such as the Language of Veterinary Care (Language of Veterinary Care Key Takeaways) and AVMA’s Train the Trainer Program—already exist for professionals to explore. In 2024, I want to see us own the power of communication to create ripple effects in patient outcomes, client relationships, and workplace culture.
Hubert Hiemstra, BVSc
Emergency Veterinarian & Podcaster
My prediction for what’s coming in vet-land in 2024? One word: tech explosion. (Ok, that’s two words. Let’s call it ‘techsplosion.’ Or vet-techsplosion.)
It started in 2023, but the revolution will gain serious momentum in 2024. It’s a revolution in how we vet, driven by a proliferation of new technology that, in 5 years, will make us look back at how we did things in 2023 the way I look back now at metal filing cabinets filled with paper patient cards. (Possibly, as with paper patient cards, with a bit of nostalgia. Like: remember how, before we had AI assistants, we used to write all of our own records, and how we had to memorize a bunch of sh**, and actually answer all those client questions, like in person?! Remember how we needed 7 vets to do the job that 2 of us are doing now?! Ah, good times.)
I see our roles as veterinarians shifting from the guardians of knowledge to that of interpreters of knowledge; ‘understanders’ rather than ‘knowers.’ We’ll increasingly become connectors, both of ideas and people. Technology will change how we educate (and what we teach), how we interact with our clients, and how we manage our data. Strap yourself in—it’s going to be a thrilling ride!
🎧 Hear more of Dr. Hiemstra’s insights via his clinical podcast on the Vet Vault Network.
Dave Cowan, BA, CVT, VTS (ECC)
Action Vet Tech Services
I hope in 2024 that we as a profession can be more united in our goals. Yes, we want title protection. Yes, we want better pay. Yes, we want reciprocity. We often get bogged down by things that distract us from our goals (see the lengthy debate over vet nurse vs vet tech). I want us to find common ground on the things we can focus on advancing and not let those distractions take us away from what we can achieve.
🎧 Get inspired and find common ground via Dave’s podcast at vettechcafe.com.
Aaron Smiley, DVM
Founder of VetSOAP
Co-Chair of the Veterinary Virtual Care Association
2024 will be remembered as the year veterinary medicine was redefined, marking a clear distinction between ‘pre-2024’ and ‘post-2024’. This pivotal year will see language-based AI integrate into veterinary practices, initially transforming administrative tasks like medical record summarization and SOAP note writing. Soon, AI will expand its role, aiding in test interpretation, treatment planning, and diagnoses, significantly reducing medical errors and improving care standards. This leap forward promises healthier animals, a safer food supply, and reduced animal suffering, heralding a new era of enhanced veterinary medicine.
Dr. Aaron thought it worth mentioning that he used language-based artificial intelligence to create this recommendation. “This is a prime example of how such technology can be beneficial in veterinary practice. The original concept was mine, but I fleshed it out using language-based AI, simplifying the task and enhancing the final product.”
You can check our Dr. Aaron's AI assistant here.
Megan Sprinkle, DVM
Veterinarian Nutritionist, Entrepreneur, Podcaster
I think in 2024, we will move from mainly awareness of issues in the veterinary industry to more action around different solutions. The veterinary profession has been spreading awareness of needs in mental health, well-being, diversity, work shortages, and access to care. In 2024, I think we are going to see more “So what do we do about it?”
I’m predicting we’ll be more focused on the people of veterinary medicine. We’ll place a growing emphasis on building up strong leaders, as well as more openness and exploration into different ways professionals can contribute to veterinary medicine.
I think we will see more interest from outside of veterinary medicine to enter or become more involved in veterinary and animal spaces, especially pets.
I think we will see growth in embracing innovation and technology. We have stem cells, cancer medications, in-home diagnostics and monitoring, and the use of AI in different ways. I think these will grow in awareness and implementation.
🎧 Rediscover your veterinary spark with Dr. Sprinkle and her guests on her podcast, Vet Life Reimagined.
Greg Bishop, DVM
Relief Veterinarian, Content Creator, Educator
Dr. Bishop treated us with his signature gift for satire. We hope you enjoy the laughs as much as we did.
Prediction #1: The AI Revolution
There’s no doubt that AI will rapidly change the veterinary industry this year. It’s going to completely revolutionize the practices that don’t have to physically restrain animals, handle sensitive medical equipment, spend extended periods of time talking to people face to face, and repeatedly clean up blood, urine, feces, and vomit off of non-skid floors. In 2024, the seeds of this trend will be planted, which will finally cause dramatic change by the time the current generation of prevet students who actually understand the technology become the dominant demographic within the industry.
Prediction #2: The Goat Yoga Renaissance
This year, veterinary medicine is poised to break out of its decades-long slump into professional dissatisfaction with the adoption of goat yoga as a new CE requirement for license renewal. At least one hour of caprine-assisted stretching and breathing exercises will be required each year, finally subduing the dark corners of veterinary mental health. Scientifically proven to improve resilience, lower student debt, and improve client compliance, this mandatory health program is going to completely transform the well-being of the veterinary industry. All goats will have tetanus toxoid and 8-way clostridial vaccines, which the participants will be responsible for bringing.
🎭 Discover Dr. Bishop’s blog, which he describes as a “completely pointless endeavor,” and we consider one of our favorite veterinary blogs.
William Tancredi, DVM
Chief of Staff, Oak Ridge Veterinary Hospital
I predict that artificial intelligence will become ubiquitous. We’ll see increasingly advanced models used to improve the lives of veterinarians and technicians dramatically, enhance communication at every level, and raise the level of veterinary medicine practiced everywhere.
I predict it will make the people of the veterinary industry, as a whole, happier and more optimistic about their work.
And I predict an Eagles Super Bowl win. Go Birds.
📚 Navigating the wide, weird, and sometimes wonderful world of AI? Sign up for Dr. Tancredi’s substack for insights into AI and more.
What a great group of predictions, right? Artificial intelligence clearly takes the crown as the most popular topic du jour. I’m glad that Instinct is leading the way in bringing AI into the veterinary hospital through our clinical decision support tools. Sign up for a demo if you’d like to see these in action! As for me, I’m excited to predict that 2024 will finally be the year that true pharmacy-agnostic veterinary electronic prescribing really takes off! Watch this space for more on that in the months to come.