Animal Health Sector: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities in 2023 and Beyond

The animal health sector has seen significant growth over the past few years, driven by global changes such as population growth, public health, pet adoption, and sustainable societies. The importance of good animal health has never been more essential, with sales across all geographies increasing by 12% to $38.3 billion in 2021. Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, this article will explore major trends and expectations related to the animal health sector.

Growing Demand for Animal Protein

The demand for animal protein is skyrocketing due to more people with more spending power seeking more animal protein. The OECD and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) predict that livestock and fish production will increase by 14% from 2020–2030. In most developed countries, milk, egg, fish, and white meat consumption is growing, while in emerging markets, there are strong consumption increases in all categories.

To sustainably meet this demand, better farm health is essential to reduce livestock losses and improve efficiency. Some regions are looking to increase vaccination uptake, while others are exploring the use of diagnostics and emerging digital tools that offer precision health.

Growing Pet Populations and Growing Spend

Global pet populations are on the rise, and pet owners are investing more in pet care. This trend is observed in large developed markets and emerging markets, where growth in the middle-class population is making pet ownership more common. Foundational tools like vaccination, parasiticides, and diagnostics are essential to protect pets and safeguard the surrounding household against fleas, ticks, illnesses, and other hazards that animals can bring home. Emerging technologies in areas like immunotherapies and digital technologies are allowing pets to share longer, healthier lives with their owners.

Growing Disease Pressure

In recent years, there has been a marked increase in the threat of deadly animal diseases. Diseases like African Swine Fever continue to spread across Asia, while Avian Influenza is leading to the culling of hundreds of millions of birds across the globe. The incidence of animal disease creates significant economic and societal costs, which is spurring greater investment and public support for animal health. With significantly more trade, travel, and transport of humans and animals, the likelihood of pathogen spread is also increasing. More food is traded, and poultry trade was up by 520% over the last 20 years.

There is also a significant relationship between animal disease and human disease. Thirteen zoonoses are the source of 2.4 billion cases of human illness and 2.2 million deaths a year. A OneHealth mindset can lead to healthier animals, which in turn leads to healthier humans, with dramatic improvements in both.

Meeting Growing Demands for Healthier Animals

The trends discussed above highlight the need for better animal health management. Improved animal health is crucial to meet growing demands for animal protein and protecting animal and human health. Animal health management starts with disease prevention, including vaccination and parasiticides. The use of diagnostics and emerging digital tools can also help achieve precision health management.

In addition, there is a growing need for innovation in animal health. For example, the use of immunotherapies and digital technologies can help pets share longer, healthier lives with their owners. Better farm health can reduce livestock losses and improve efficiency to sustainably meet growing demands for animal protein.

Lastly, it is important to recognize the relationship between animal health and public health. A OneHealth mindset can lead to dramatic improvements in both animal and human health. Improved animal health can lead to healthier animals, which in turn can lead to healthier humans. Thus, investment in animal health can yield significant economic and societal benefits.

Investment in Innovation

The animal health sector is becoming more innovative, with investments in new technologies and approaches to improve animal health. This includes investments in areas like precision health, digital health technologies, and genomics. Digital technologies are already helping farmers and veterinarians better monitor animal health, and using genomics is helping to develop better treatments and diagnostics.

This focus on innovation has also led to increased collaboration between animal health companies and other stakeholders like governments, universities, and startups. These collaborations are leading to the development of new and innovative solutions to address the challenges facing the animal health sector.

Regulatory Challenges

The animal health sector faces regulatory challenges around the world, which can vary significantly by region. In some regions, regulatory approval for new animal health products can be slow and difficult to obtain, while in others, the regulatory environment is more favourable.

However, there is a trend towards more harmonization of regulations, which can help companies better navigate the complex regulatory landscape. This includes initiatives like the International Cooperation on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Veterinary Medicinal Products (VICH), which aims to harmonize the registration requirements for veterinary medicines across regions.


The animal health sector faces significant challenges and opportunities in the coming years. The growing demand for animal protein, rising pet populations, and increasing disease pressure are all driving growth in the sector. At the same time, the sector is becoming more innovative, with new technologies and approaches being developed to improve animal health.

Despite these opportunities, the animal health sector also faces significant regulatory challenges. However, initiatives like the VICH are working to harmonize regulations and make it easier for companies to navigate the regulatory landscape.

Overall, the animal health sector is poised for continued growth and innovation in the years ahead, as stakeholders work together to address the challenges facing the industry and improve the health of animals and humans alike.