The US is the single largest market for domestic pets with 89.7 million dogs and 94.2 million cats.1 48 percent of American households have a dog and 38 percent have a cat.2 The market for veterinary services for pets was estimated to be USD 15.9 billion in 2016 according to American Pet Products Association (“APPA”). An estimated 85 million dogs and 103 million cats are kept as pets in Europe.3
The increased willingness to pay is mainly driven by a changed attitude among owners to their pets, which are increasingly regarded as a member of the family. Owners are consequently willing to seek high-quality veterinary care for their pets.
The factors that have a positive impact on the market for animal health are mainly the ageing population, stronger relationship between dogs and their owners, increased awareness of veterinarians, more drugs approved for use in animals and number of insured animals increasing. Further, the factors that have a negative impact on the market for animal health are mainly that the pet owners have a negative perception of cancer treatment for animals due to the fact that there have not been any good drugs, that access to cytostatics that can be used in dogs is still extremely limited, extensive treatments associated with high costs and an undeveloped market where more education is needed.
Cancer in animals
According to the Center for Cancer Research, an estimated six million dogs are diagnosed with cancer each year in the US.4 Cancer in animals is similar to cancer in humans and the incidence increases with age. Some types of cancer are more common in certain species. For example, lymphoma is the most prevalent cancer in dogs. Most existing cytostatics for intravenous use have been designed for humans and have not been optimized or clinically tested for animals. This means that it is difficult to make an accurate assessment of the overall market and to predict its growth. Among veterinarians, there is a strong interest in pursuing new methods of treatment specifically adapted to animals. More drugs are being approved for use in animals and this is expected to contribute positively to the development of the market. Improved knowledge about diagnosing cancer and about the treatment of cancer results in that more dogs are treated for cancer. In addition, access to oncology specialists is improving and veterinarians tend to be more and more willing to refer to specialists.
Of the estimated six million dogs diagnosed with cancer each year in the US, approximately one third have skin cancer5. Mastocytoma is a type of skin cancer that arises when mast cells start dividing uncontrollably. The treatment for mastocytoma is primarily by surgery, but in many cases the tumour cannot be operated and then cytostatic is needed. Currently, there are two registered products for the treatment of mastocytoma, Masivet and Palladia. These two products inhibit a specific protein (tyrosine kinase) but require lifelong treatment as they only keep the disease at bay. If the disease cannot be treated, it leads to death, but many dogs are put down at an earlier stage.
Lymphoma is the most common cancer in dogs and accounts for 15 – 20 percent of all new cancer diagnoses.6 There is no registered drug for broad treatment of lymphoma in dogs, but veterinarians use human therapies that have been adapted for pets.
1) National Pet Owners Survey (2017–2018), APPA. 2) Insurance Information Institute (https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-pet-statistics). 3) Facts & Figures (2017), the European Pet Food Industry Federation. 4) CanineCancer.com (https://www.caninecancer.com/osteosarcoma-bone-cancer-1). 5) VCA Inc. (https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/lymphoma-in-dogs). 6) VCA Inc. (https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/lymphoma-in-dogs).