The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association are establishing the Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare, a campaign to raise the importance of regular veterinary exams within both the profession and the pet-owning public.
The initiative, unveiled at the American Veterinary Medical Association convention in St. Louis in July, is supported by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges and an initial 13 industry sponsors.
The groups cited declining visits that began before the economic downturn and an increase in preventable health conditions in dogs and cats as the reason for campaign. One goal is to provide guidance and ensure that veterinary visits lead to early disease detection and prevention. A key component of the initiative is to emphasize at least yearly wellness exams for cats and dogs.
Veterinarians can do more to communicate the benefits of preventive health care, according to the organizers.
“It is important that we recognize that, as a profession, we have to be better at educating pet owners regarding the importance of preventive care and of the unique role that veterinarians play in enhancing the relationship between pet owners and their best friends,” said Michael Moyer, VMD, president of AAHA.
One of the initiative’s first efforts will be to jointly publish in September preventive health care guidelines for cats and dogs in the journals of the two lead organizations. The new guidelines will consolidate many existing principles, such as those for vaccine protocols, parasite control and nutritional assessments, into a single executive summary for a comprehensive wellness exam.
Other initial plans include creating tools for veterinarians to communicate the value of preventive care to pet owners. Educational and awareness initiatives directed toward pet owners are anticipated to launch in 2012.
The partnership is intended as a multiyear partnership designed to promote, engage and support the veterinary profession and drive pet owners’ awareness of the value of preventive veterinary health care.
“People have a special relationship with their pets,” said Ron DeHaven, DVM, MBA, the AVMA’s CEO and the partnership’s chairman. “Visiting a veterinarian regularly and practicing active preventive health care is a great way to enhance that relationship.”
The partnership will be managed through an executive committee, board of directors and supported by advisory councils.