As its title suggests, there’s good news and bad news coming out of a recent white paper produced by Partners for Healthy Pets, a consortium of professional and industry organizations that was formed to ensure that pets receive the preventive healthcare they deserve through regular visits to a veterinarian.
First the good news from “Reversing the Decline in Veterinary Care Utilization: Progress Made, Challenges Remain.” According to a 2014 Partners for Healthy Pets survey, veterinary practices are focusing more on preventive care and its values. Veterinary teams are more effectively communicating the value and benefit of preventive healthcare to pet owners, and there’s an increased emphasis placed on preventive healthcare curriculum and clinical education by veterinary school deans and primary care faculty.
Now for the not-so-good news: A second survey found that in the past four years, visits to veterinarians have not increased and that pet owner attitudes about preventive healthcare for their animals have either changed very little or were less favorable. Pet owner concerns about the cost of veterinary services have increased markedly, and the stress of visits to the veterinarian experienced by pets and their owners continues to be a barrier to regular utilization of veterinary services. Added to that disturbing mix is the fact that pet owners continue to turn to the Internet as the first option for information on pet healthcare.
The take away is that the profession is making considerable progress in changing its attitudes, culture and behavior related to preventive pet healthcare. What remains, though, is for veterinarians to more widely use the Partners for Healthy Pets resources to implement preventive pet healthcare as the first consideration in primary care practice and to effectively communicate the benefits and value of regular healthcare visits to pet owners.
Where can you go from here? Visit the Partners for Healthy Pets website today and learn about all the free resources available to you and your veterinary team. And if your practice isn’t already enrolled in the Partners program, we encourage you to do so today. It’s easy; and it’s free. Together – and with the Partners resources as your guide – we can make a difference and boost the level of veterinary care our pets receive.