Strengthening the Horse – Human Bond
Jeannie Jeffery, vice president of U.S. Equine, Zoetis, gives insights into the current equine market and how her company thinks about the future.
Compared to livestock or companion animals, there are fewer horses in the United States. Yet, horses and humans have a strong bond that puts good medical care front and center.
The following exchange with Jeannie Jeffery, vice president of U.S. Equine, Zoetis, shows how her company thinks about addressing the industry’s challenges while embracing its unique qualities.
Vet-Advantage: What are the major trends in the equine industry?
Jeannie Jeffery: If we look at our industry’s landscape today, we have 7.2 million horses in the U.S., with 4.5 million medicalized and roughly 1.8 million horse owners. Our industry is unique given the multiplicity of roles that a horse plays, i.e. high-performance athletes, recreational use, functional farming, etc. But no matter the role, we know that there’s a strong horse and human bond – owners are willing and they strive to provide the best possible care.
COVID has created more flexibility in schedules and increased the desire for outdoor activities, meaning a horse owner is able to spend more time with their horse with an increased level of care.
Both horse owners and equine veterinarians feel a strong sense of responsibility to provide the best possible care. We continue to see a strong focus on overall equine wellness with routine vaccinations, deworming practices and regular dental appointments. But now, with competition and event attendance higher than ever, there’s been a resurgence on the importance of biosecurity (maintain up-to-date vaccination) and all-around prevention to ensure horses are receiving the best possible care as they compete throughout the year. We know this to be true, as equine veterinarians are experiencing a higher rate of clinic and farm visits.
Vet-Advantage: How have equine veterinarians and owners adopted new technologies and innovation?
Jeffery: Both equine veterinarians and horse owners have a strong willingness to adopt and try new ways that help predict, prevent, detect, diagnose and treat horses.
Zoetis is focused on purpose-driven innovation for both veterinarians and horse owners. In 2018, we launched Core EQ® Innovator, the first and only vaccine containing all equine core disease antigens, in a single injection and developed exclusively for veterinarians.
Zoetis equine continues to recognize the importance for stall-side, point of care modalities with the addition of Stablelab® and Pro-Stride® APS devices. These new tools allow for real-time results that are great for the horse and provide a positive impact on the practitioner. As we know, today’s veterinarians are facing many pressures and are busier than ever. There is currently a shortage of equine veterinarians so stall-side products like Stablelab and Pro-Stride APS devices allow the veterinarian to take more control of their busy schedules and to diagnose and treat with confidence.
Vet-Advantage: What are the main challenges in serving equine customers?
Jeffery: The demanding nature of veterinarian work, compassion fatigue and student loan debt. In addition, we’re seeing fewer up and coming veterinarians dedicated to equine – meaning more are choosing mixed practice vs. equine-only clinics. As a result, dedicated equine practices are operating with less associates, which could mean longer hours and farther coverage distances for farm visits.
Vet-Advantage: Where do you see growth areas in the equine market?
Jeffery: Zoetis Equine is focused on our innovation pipeline to continue advancing the frontier of horse care in partnership with equine veterinary practitioners. The equine health market, while it has made great strides in the past two decades, is still not as robust as other animal health sectors, which is something we are actively working to address. We continue to invest in research and development projects that will strategically expand our portfolio with a focus and commitment to fulfilling unmet needs in equine veterinary medicine.
Vet-Advantage: How is your company integrating technology in your day-to-day business?
Jeffery: Zoetis is devoted to making horses’ lives better, one innovation at a time. From diagnostic tools to preventative and acute care treatments to advanced nutrition, we offer best-in-class solutions for horse caregivers across the continuum of care and the continuum of a horse’s life.
Our society in general has become accustomed to instant answers and quick solutions. Technology advancements have been pivotal to the improvements of diagnosing and treating horses.
Vet-Advantage: What are the prominent trends among your customer base that will most affect your company?
Jeffery: There is the desire of both equine veterinarians and horse owners to engage with companies who are aligned with their beliefs on horse care – as well as a demonstrated commitment to doing right by the horse. At Zoetis, we have focused on how our whole portfolio can provide that continuum of care and demonstrate the “why” behind what motivates us all to care for these animals, who care for and do so much for us in return.
We recently launched our “Long Live the Horse” campaign in 2021 at AAEP in an effort to connect the dots across our portfolio and demonstrate that Zoetis – as the world’s largest animal health company – mirrors the same passion for horses that equine veterinarians and owners feel for these animals, which in turn inspires all the innovation you see at the product level and in our commitment to exceptional customer experiences.
Vet-Advantage: As you look ahead, what are the trends in veterinary products distribution that will most affect your company?
Jeffery: At Zoetis, we are here to be a trustworthy and valued partner to our distribution and equine veterinarian customers. Distribution continues to be a pivotal role in our supply ecosystem, and we are here to continue to partner and learn alongside our industry colleagues to help support the equine health industry.
Our portfolio of products has been and will continue to be created with the horse and equine veterinarian in mind. We exist to provide that full continuum of care in a one-stop-shop in order to ease purchase efforts for our buyers, allowing them to get all of our health products in one order.
We are determined to make it easier for our equine veterinarians to do business and provide them with the right products at the right place at the right time.
Photo credit: istockphoto.com/DianaHirsch
Photo credit: istockphoto.com/Wavebreakmedia