When Walmart and the big box stores changed the landscape of retail, a lot of mom and pop small businesses were faced with the challenges of trying to compete with them for customers. Some succeeded, and most didn't.
Borders bookstore suffered and closed because they put their online sales in the hands of Amazon and found themselves competing with them, unlike Barnes and Noble who developed their own products for online sales.
Over the past few years the veterinary profession has taken a hit with their own challenges as well. For years, veterinary fees for services were kept low as they were offset by profit of other services, and the sales of flea and tick medication, heartworm prevention, and other medications. Office visits that were $12 a few years ago are now $35-40. Some flea and tick medications can be purchased by customers from big box retailers (online and off) almost at the same price that a veterinary hospital pays for the medication. Add to the problem that veterinary schools are now churning out students faster than older doctors are retiring.
Now the latest challenge comes from the animal shelters operating spay and neuter clinics. Not to just low income clients either. And here locally, is it isn't just spays and neuters, as they also offer vaccinations and flea and tick medication. I see lots of dogs suffering with heartworms, puppies with parvo, and cats with feline leukemia as no one takes the time to explain to their clients about those things. Why they even offer a puppy vaccine if only one isn't going to protect against parvo or distemper virus, is beyond me. Same with cats getting only 1 upper respiratory vaccine and NO Feline Leukemia ( Feline leukemia, which can be fatal, isn't even offered).
They say they just want to help with pet overpopulation. As veterinarians, we do to. We would also like to be able to help pets live healthier lives by educating people about preventive medicine and better care. And we would like to make a living at it without getting a second job at Starbucks.
Here's a rather new article about the problem from Mississippi.