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Vets cash in

VETS ARE the most profitable small business category in Britain, squeezing a truly eye-popping 37 per cent return on capital from their pooch-loving customers, according to a new survey published last week.

According to the report, affluent pet-owners now demand heart surgery, chemotherapy and alternative medicines as well as the usual vaccinations and neutering operations.

The boom in pet insurance has also enabled animal-lovers to give their dogs, cats and horses more expensive operations, boosting the bottom line for the profession.

Vets beat every other business category, including plumbers, lawyers and financial advisers, according to a league table of profitability from CCH, the accountancy information group, which trawled through the past two years’ of Companies House returns to come to its conclusion.

Chris Lowry, a partner in UHY Hacker Young, the accountancy firm, said that the lengthy training needed to become a vet meant they could ensure that they were well rewarded for their work.

‘Although veterinary businesses which carry out the more costly procedures have to invest in any specialist equipment or extra training required, they appear to be getting the necessary economies of scale to make the return on that expenditure very worthwhile,’ Mr Lowry said.
Despite a slowdown in demand from farming, vets said that business serving domestic animals was thriving as more pet-owners could afford better treatment.

‘The advent of pet insurance has allowed owners to take gold-standard options for their animals,’ David Catlow, past president of the British Veterinary Association, said. ‘We’re constantly investing and learning new skills so we can offer new services.’

Mr Catlow, who practises in Preston, Lancashire, also said that the long hours that vets work — sometimes up to 100 hours a week — meant that they were more likely than other industries to get the most out of their investments in training.