The importance of preventative healthcare
It may well be a classic cliché and a term with which many of us are familiar, however, a saying that we certainly endorse at the practice when it comes to caring for your pets, is that “prevention is better than cure.”
There are many elements of your pet’s care that this motto will translate well to. Most owners will both accept and acknowledge that preventative health care for their pet will include protection against infectious disease through vaccination. Additionally, that there are medications which help prevent and/or treat, ectoparasites and endoparasites (those found on the outside of the body and inside, respectively). Routine, regular check-ups and examinations of your pet, microchipping and neutering, also fall into the remit of preventative pet health care.
So, what are the benefits of medical treatments?
In a nutshell, the benefits are plentiful. Vaccination will offer the best protection against infectious diseases for your pets; many of which still to this day have no specific cure or treatment. If the majority of pet owners are vaccinating their animals, then over time, the incidence and severity of infectious diseases will usually reduce, through the “herd immunity” effect.
Ensuring your pet stays free from gastrointestinal and lung worms will enable them to thrive without symptoms and certainly for lungworm prevention in dogs, may save their life from this high morbidity, high mortality disease.
Flea and tick control also prevents against skin problems and more serious internal disease for your pet and reduces the zoonotic risk of certain diseases to yourselves.
Neutering brings about many benefits and reductions in certain cancers for both female and male dogs. However, we will always advise a discussion on a case-by-case basis with your vet for the optimal care of any one individual pet.
Essentially, by providing preventative healthcare for your pet, you are minimising the risk from multiples of diseases whilst maximising their health, wellness and hopefully, longevity.
And what are the benefits of regular examinations?
Allowing your pet to be examined regularly by a vet confers various advantages. Firstly, regular checks will allow your vet to familiarise themselves well with what is “normal” for your pet. When and if new disease develops, such as the development of a heart murmur, this will be readily noted as a change and an abnormal finding. Risk factors for disease will also be recognised, such as for example, gradual but steady weight gain in a middle-aged cat, which will significantly increase their risk of diabetes mellitus (and many other diseases), in the future.
Disease, where present, will be more likely recognised and picked up sooner and particularly when it is subtle, such as weight loss in an elderly cat. Interventions can thus be recommended and instigated. With the overall increase in life expectancy we are seeing in our pets comes a higher incidence of many degenerative and age-related diseases. The sooner we can identify the disease, the quicker we can instigate treatment and make an impact. This typically then leads to a significant increase in survival times, as it enables us to modulate and manipulate the disease state for longer, having detected it sooner.
How do health plans tie into preventative healthcare?
Over the past decade, one way in which most practices have approached, adapted and enhanced their services, is by provision of a healthcare plan to their patients. Designed as a loyalty and discounted scheme, such health plans provide many benefits to both animals and their owners, and veterinary practices.
Essentially, set up as a monthly direct debit scheme, our health plan provides gold standard preventative healthcare to your pet, at discounted rates (when compared to buying all the same products/services individually). As the client you benefit from savings, as vets we benefit in the knowledge that we are providing best preventative care and are regularly “keeping tabs” on your pets. Your pet’s age and stage of life along with their lifestyles and indoor/outdoor access and urban/rural environment access, will all be accommodated for within our health plan.
Medications are typically dispensed at 6 monthly intervals. There are additional benefits such as discounts on microchipping, neutering and other preventative procedures such as dental scaling and polishing. It really is a win-win situation! Standards of veterinary care improve, diseases are noted sooner, and hopefully both the quality and quantity of your pet’s life will thereby resultantly improve.
Visit our pet Health Care Plan page to find out more about it.