2024 Survey of Shelter Medicine Veterinary Compensation


  • RE Kreisler Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine, Glendale, AZ USA https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5562-5521
  • M Spindel Veterinary Information Network, Davis, CA USA
  • M Rishniw Veterinary Information Network, Davis, CA USA




Compensation in the field of shelter veterinary medicine is not well understood. Two previous surveys (2011 and 2018) have been conducted. In 2018, full-time shelter veterinarians employed in a clinical capacity had a median salary of $92,000 (IQR 80,000 - 110,000), while part-time shelter veterinarians had a median wage of $48/hour (IQR 36-66) for a median of 26 hours of work; academic shelter veterinarians had a median salary of $108,000 (IQR 90,000-120,000), while veterinarians employed in shelter leadership had a median salary of $120,000 (IQR 110,000-198,000). In 2018 the AVMA reported the median salary of all private practice veterinarians was $92,000 ($95,000 companion animal exclusive), and in 2022, it was $137,000 ($140,000 companion animal exclusive).

The anonymous survey was distributed through various channels, including social media, message boards, and specialty listservs, similar to the 2018 survey. The survey was open for participation from January 4th to 31st 2024. Shelter veterinarians primarily working in the United States were categorized into four employment groups: part-time shelter-employed veterinarian, full-time shelter-employed veterinarian (35 hours per week or more), academic shelter medicine faculty, and shelter leadership/consultants. Salaries of interns and residents (2 respondents) were excluded from the analysis.

There were 314 responses, with 299 from veterinarians working in/with shelters in the United States. Among these, 258 were engaged in clinical work with/for one or more shelter organizations, with 198 working full-time and 60 part-time. Eighteen respondents were from academia, and 23 were in shelter leadership or consulting roles. The median salary for full-time veterinarians in clinical roles was $122,500 (IQR 105,000 - 140,000; range 65,000 - 246,000), a 25% increase from 2018. Part-time veterinarians in clinical roles reported a wage of $85/hour (IQR 63 - 104; range 27 - 313) for a median of 24 hours (IQR 16 - 31), reflecting a 77% increase in hourly wage and an 8% decrease in hours. Academic shelter medicine veterinarians had a median salary of $130,000 (IQR 108,000 - 140,000; range 70,000 - 150,000), a 20% increase. The median salaries for different academic ranks were: Instructors $103,000, Assistant Professors $116,000, Associate Professors $134,000, and Professors $150,000. Veterinarians in consulting or leadership positions had a median salary of $168,000 (IQR 145,000 - 200,000; range 105,000 - 254,000), a 40% increase.

All salaries increased, with the full-time salary for veterinarians employed in leadership or consulting increasing the most and salaries for veterinarians in academia increasing the least. The per-hour rate increased dramatically for part-time veterinarians, and they reported working a median of two fewer hours per week. Similar to the 2018 results, shelter veterinarians in leadership positions had the highest income, followed by academic shelter veterinarians. Salaries for clinically employed shelter veterinarians were 5% less than AVMA-reported 2022 salaries for all private practice veterinarians and 7% lower than for companion animal veterinarians.


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How to Cite

Kreisler, R., Spindel, M., & Rishniw, M. (2024). 2024 Survey of Shelter Medicine Veterinary Compensation. Journal of Shelter Medicine and Community Animal Health, 3(S1). https://doi.org/10.56771/jsmcah.v3.99



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