Americans spent $4.5 billion on pet healthcare products in 2013

vet_dog3_resizedNew data released by the Animal Health Institute (AHI) estimates that Americans spent $7.5 billion on medicines for pets and livestock in 2013 — a figure essentially unchanged from 2012, not just adjusted for inflation.

According to the AHI news release, 60% of all known diseases are those that can pass between animals and humans, meaning that keeping animals healthy is a key to keeping humans healthy. Diseases that spread from animals to humans are known as zoonotic diseases and include commonly recognized diseases such as West Nile virus, avian flu and rabies, and diseases caused by E. coli O157:H7. Over the past three decades, AHI estimates that approximately 75% of new emerging human infectious diseases have been zoonotic.

Total sales of animal medicines can be broken into three product categories including biologics, pharmaceuticals and feed additives. Sales in each of these categories remained unchanged from 2012 to 2013 and nearly 60% or $4.5 billion, of the total sales in 2013 were spent on medication for companion pets, such as cats and dogs.

“Virtually every American benefits from the use of these medicines on a daily basis,” AHI President and CEO Alexander S. Mathews, said in a news release. “Pet owners are able to keep animals indoors and provide them with longer and healthier lives. Food consumers enjoy a healthier food supply because farmers and veterinarians have access to medicine to keep food animals healthy.”

Animal medicines are a critical link in the food safety chain, as they represent a necessary tool for farmers and veterinarians to prevent diseases, treat sick animals, and control outbreaks among livestock and poultry. Disease prevention is a continuum that starts with keeping animals healthy and results in improved human health. Proper animal health management and veterinary care that includes the use of vaccines, flea and tick products, and pharmaceuticals can help keep animals healthy and prevent disease transmission to humans and improve the way we live.

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