The Importance of Wellness Checkups

I first wrote about wellness checkups for both cats and dogs after attending a American Veterinary Medical Conference (AVMA) in San Diego. It’s a wonderful opportunity to eavesdrop on the veterinary world, get the latest facts and figures and sit in on interesting workshops.

Every five years, AVMA produces a well-researched Pet Demographic Sourcebook. It’s a highly respected tome and, in fact, the U.S. Census Bureau cites it in their publications. Some really attention-grabbing information about pet ownership from the Sourcebook was highlighted at the conference.

For example, there is a slight decline in American households with pets. It’s down 2.4 percent in the past five years. This further breaks down to a decrease in dog ownership by 1.9 percent and cat ownership by 6.2 percent. Nevertheless, cats still rule as America’s most popular companion pet!

The study also highlighted that there has been an increase in the number of visits dogs make to the veterinarian. But sadly, cat visits are down.

One of the biggest problems with cats is that they are very good at masking their illness and hiding symptoms. So it takes a really astute owner to monitor their pets and be in tune with their well being.

If your cat is hiding a lot that’s a big clue that all may not be well. And if your cat stops eating, even her favorite food, that is a very big red flag that it’s time to visit the veterinarian.

In all honestly, all pets should at least get one wellness visit a year. The Sourcebook delves into the reasons why this is not always the case. One major cause could be the expense of the visit, and the fact that many pet owners feel they don’t get any value from the visit, in the sense that the veterinarian doesn’t spend any time discussing their pet with them.

I feel as pet parents it is really time for us to be more proactive. If the vet visit is a financial challenge, ask the vet’s office if you can make payments. I was once faced with a huge bill and the office was willing to work with the request.

The second thing is, as a pet parent, go armed with information and ask questions! Just as in the human medical world, not every veterinarian is a conversational “people person.” So don’t be shy to initiate a conversation.

One of the biggest challenges facing pets in America is that they are overweight. The survey reveals that there is a 37 percent increase in overweight dogs and a 90 percent increase in overweight cats! This is serious and leads to various medical issues that can be avoided. Fat pets are NOT cute! They’re not able to live a normal, healthy life either.

The other interesting snippet gleaned at the conference is that 80 percent of pet owners get their pet health information from pet health blogs like this one!

Take what you read here at Pet Health Central from the talented team of veterinarians and experts like Dr. Tony Johnson and Dr. Rod Van Horn, and use the information to your best advantage when you next visit your vet.

And please, put a visit to the vet on your “To Do List” now. You can avert health problems and possibly extend your pet’s life.

Now that’s a win-win situation and definitely worth every cent.

Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to try some of the excellent over-the-counter health and well-being options for dogs and cats, too. Does your pet need a good dental cleaning? SENTRY Petrodex has what you need! Try many other great pet care products from Sergeant’s here.

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