The 2021 annual report of the Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI) contains an update on the veterinary landscape in Ireland for that year. Here, we present a picture of that landscape in numbers, compared to 2021.

In 2021, there were 3,222 veterinary practitioners (vets) on the register and 1,190 veterinary nurses (nurses).

Compared to 2020, this marks an increase of 178 vets and 93 nurses, according to VCI stats.

However, there was a drop in the number of veterinary practices on the register in 2021 with 758 recorded, compared to 772 in 2020.

In terms of continuing professional development, in light of the increased number of practitioners in 2021, CPD was offered to 4,412 registrants compared to 4,141 in 2020.

In 2021, 65 complaints were received and at the time of publishing the report, 63 of those had been determined, while two were awaiting further consideration. In 2020, there were 38 complaints, 25 of which were determined at the time of publishing the annual report, while 13 awaited further consideration.

Four fitness-to-practice inquiries were held in 2021, and three were held in 2020; five freedom-of-information requests were received in 2021, versus eight in 2020.

Veterinary premises breakdown

Of the 758 registered premises recorded in 2021, these were broken down into:

  • Registered veterinary offices;
  • Registered veterinary clinics;
  • Registered veterinary hospitals;
  • Registered mobile units.


Of the registered offices, the majority were concerned with mixed animal practice – 86, followed by large-animal – 57, equine with 40, companion-animal and state/local authority with nine and five, respectively; and 15 ‘other’.

In 2020, registered offices were broken down into large-animal practice – 124, followed by equine – 37, mixed – 13, and companion – five.

Veterinary clinics

In 2021, there were 239 mixed-animal clinics in 2021, followed by 118 companion-animal clinics, 21 large-animal, 13 equine clinics, and two ‘other’ clinics.

In 2020, there were 300 mixed-animal clinics, followed by 84 companion-animal clinics, 14 equine clinics, two large animal and ‘other’ clinics, and one state/local authority premises.

Veterinary hospitals

In 2021, the hospital scene was as follows: 89 companion-animal hospitals, 52 mixed hospitals, and eight equine hospital.

In 2020, there were 131 companion-animal facilities; followed by mixed and equine at 10 a piece.

There were no large-animal hospitals registered in 2020 or 2021.

Mobile units

There were four mobile units on the road in 2021, the same number as the year previous.