Shares of VCA Antech Inc. fell in after-hours trading Thursday after the veterinary services provider reported lower-than-expected second quarter net income and cut its full-year outlook.

After the markets closed, the Los Angeles company, which operates animal hospitals and laboratories, reported net income of $38.2 million (44 cents per share), compared with $37.7 million (44 cents) a year earlier. The company had more shares outstanding in the 2010 quarter. Revenue rose 2.6 percent to nearly $354 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected the company to report per-share earnings of 49 cents on revenue of $364 million.

Animal hospital revenue was up 2.4 percent; laboratory revenue was down 0.2 percent; and equipment sales were up 42 percent.

VCA said the slower pace of economic recovery hurt its business, as pet owners spent less on their animal’s health care.

“We continued to grow revenue during the quarter as a result of acquisitions,” Chief Executive Bob Antin said in a statement. “However, the economy continues to negatively impact internal revenue growth in both our animal hospital and laboratory business segments.”

For fiscal year 2010, the company now expects earnings per share in the range of $1.43 to $1.53, compared with a previous estimate in the range of $1.60 and $1.68. The Wall Street average expectation is $1.62 per share.

Shares closed up 73 cents, or 3 percent, to $22.99, but were down 6 percent in after-hours trading.

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