What do you think of when you consider “preventive care” for pets?
It turns out that the answer depends on whether or not you’re a veterinarian.
If you are a vet, then you probably think that “preventive” measures are limited to vaccines, spaying/neutering, and parasite control.
But what pet parents really want from their vets is much more advice about their pets’ exercise, emotional well-being, behavior, genetics, and food, nutrition, and diet.
According a recent article in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, “The most common reasons that pets visit the veterinarians are as follows: specific diseases, 13.1%; signs of illness, 8.1%; behaviors, 7.7%; sickness, 7.6%; fleas and ticks, 3.5%; check-ups, 3.2%; and heartworm medication, 2.3%. Only the last three categories fall under preventive care.”
Unfortunately, veterinarians are still overwelmingly under-educated on day-to-day concerns like behavior and nutrition.
The article states that pet parents mostly get this important information from “Dr. Google,” as well as from day care providers, groomers, boarders, breeders, and trainers. Veterinarians quickly get frustrated when clients turn to those alternate sources of information, even though they themselves are unwilling or incapable of providing that advice.
It sounds like veterinarians need to get off their high horse and do more to meet people where they are, and address their clients’ most basic concerns in a practical, compassionate manner. Vet schools don’t teach this. Maybe they should start!
Until they do, it’s up to you to elicit the information you need from your veterinarian; and if sufficient info isn’t forthcoming, it may be time to consider at least a second opinion, or even switching vets.
To find a holistically-oriented veterinarian, visit the directory at www.ahvma.org.
For everything you need to know about preventive care as well as diet and nutrition for cats, see The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care; and for dogs, read Paleo Dog: Give Your Best Friend a Long Life, Healthy Weight, and Freedom from Illness by Nurturing His Inner Wolf.