The number of households in the U.S. that currently own a pet is at an all-time high, nearly 73%.1 We care about our pets. I think it’s even safe to say that most pet owners love their “furbabies.” Yet, there’s been a steady decline in veterinary visits over the past decade and our pets’ health is suffering as a result.
Treatable problems are on the rise. Despite the availability of effective flea control products, the incidence of flea infestations in dogs and cats has been shown to be increasing, according to the BANFIELD® Pet Hospital State of Pet Health Report 2011.
There are increasingly more sources at our fingertips; so far, nothing has replaced a visit to the veterinarian.
As a pet owner, you might say, “Well, I know when my pet is sick.” However, this isn’t always the case; especially for cats, who are so skilled at masking illness. A veterinarian may detect problems that you cannot.
When a problem is discovered early and treatment is prompt, the outcome may be more favorable.5 If your cat is overweight, helping the pet shave off pounds might mean avoiding diabetes. Sadly, there was a 16% increase in diabetes cases noted in cats at BANFIELD hospitals from 2006-2010.
Consider the difference in the cost of a knee surgery for a dog compared to the cost for a human. The difference is that in human medicine, insurance usually covers most of the cost. In veterinary medicine, it’s you, the pet owner, which must bear the cost, except for those of you that have pet insurance.
While veterinarians remain among the most trusted of professionals, we live in an increasingly cynical society. Clients today are less likely to instantly accept a veterinarian’s recommended course of treatment. Owners often seek a “second opinion”. They may consult an alternative veterinarian (which is just fine), but increasingly they’re visiting “Dr. Google”.4 Some websites and blogs are great resources. Some resources actually do our pets a disservice. It would be best to check with your veterinarian for recommendations of reliable websites that may be informative and accurate.
Content provided by Steve Dale, CABC