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Number of animal hospitals nationwide set to reach 2,000 by next year

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A vet checks on a cat in this photo for illustrative purpose only. Photo courtesy of a private contributor

Taipei, April 14 (CNA) The population of registered pet dogs and cats in Taiwan exceeded the number of children by nearly 100,000 last year as a result the number of animal hospitals could rise to 2,000 by next year, according to a Taipei veterinary medical group.

Last year, the number of registered canines and felines stood at 94,544 and 137,652, respectively for a total of 232,196, compared to 135,571 newborn children, according to pet databases.

Over the past five years, although the number of pediatricians around Taiwan has risen, growth has slowed. In 2022, there were 3,077 pediatricians nationwide, while the number of medical doctors dedicated to the treatment of young children up to three years of age stood at 1,880, taking care of 195,552 children, according to statistics compiled by the Taiwan Medical Association.

In comparison, the medical demand for vaccinations, medicine and medical treatment for pets continues to expand.

As of Feb. 29, 3,993, or 69 percent of the 5,773 registered veterinarians in Taiwan, were dedicated to the medical care of companion animals, or pets, said Hsu Jung-pin (徐榮彬), deputy director-general of the Ministry of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Agency.

The increasing importance attached by owners to pets as family members has spurred growth in the number of animal hospitals.

Yang Hsiao-po (楊孝柏), president of the Taipei Veterinary Medical Association, said there are currently about 1,700-1,800 animal hospitals around Taiwan but the industry estimates that will climb to 2,000 by the end of this year or next year at the latest.

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