What happened

In response to first-quarter sales results that came in well short of expectations, shares of Heska Corporation (HSKA), a diagnostics and pharmaceutical company focused on veterinary products, fell 11% as of 11:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday.

dog rolling eyes

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Here's a look at the key quarterly numbers that drove today's price action:

  • Revenue grew 12% to $30.4 million. The gains were driven by 22% growth in blood diagnostics revenue but offset by a 26% decline in imagine revenue. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical sales grew 56% thanks to a new sales contract with Eli Lilly's animal health division Elanco. This number came in quite a bit shy of the $33.3 million in total revenue that Wall Street had expected.
  • Heska's operating income rose 42% to $2.8 million thanks to margin expansion.
  • Net income surged 288% to $4.6 million and earnings per share skyrocketed 259% to $0.61 due to the combination of margin expansion and a big income tax benefit. That figure was more than double the  $0.30 in EPS that market watchers had expected.
  • Heska ended the quarter with $12.2 million in cash.

The disappointing revenue growth appears to be the primary reason behind Tuesday's tumble.

Now what

Heska's stock has been a grand-slam investment over the past three years. Shares have surged more than 700% since 2014 thanks to strong profit growth as the business continues to scale.

HSKA Chart

HSKA data by YCharts.

In addition, Heska's results continue to show that veterinarians around the country are warming up to its core diagnostic products based on the promised cost savings over rivals like Idexx Laboratories. When combined with growing pharmaceutical sales, Heska continues to look poised for double-digit revenue and profit growth from here. 

On the flip side, the company's huge share price gains have stretched its valuation to more than 68 times trailing earnings. That might be a multiple that even some growth investors find too rich to stomach.

Overall, I see reasons to believe that Heska will keep growing rapidly, but given the company's stretched valuation, I have a hard time calling today's dip a buying opportunity.