By Karin Krisher
Here are the facts: Vets are seeing pets two to three days sicker than in the past. Progressive diseases, like cancers, are caught less often when pets don’t have regular check-ups. And Internet pharmacies, high costs and low perceived value of service are driving veterinary practices into the ground.
This pattern is wrong, and individual pet owners do have the power to ensure that the individual care our companions get at the vet doesn’t go the way of the dinosaurs.
The bottom line is this: preventative care of any sort is more cost efficient and less stressful than the alternative; regular check ups save everyone a scare later. That’s why your pet should see a vet.
For the vet, it must feel like there isn’t any room for change. Lowering the cost of service is a sure-fire way to encourage more visits, but the numbers might not even allow the vet to make his or her own living, let alone purchase new equipment and pay employees a livable wage.
Perhaps, then, the only power the vet really has is the power of suggestion—the ability to encourage regular check-ups regardless of vaccine schedules. Too often, pet owners don’t take this good advice, skipping check-ups and ignoring small health problems that later grow into large health problems.
Think of it this way: Your cat skipping the vet for two years can be likened to you skipping the doctor for two decades. To vets, that’s clear—to the average consumer, the significance is often lost in a sea of inconvenience and expense.
We can’t state this more emphatically. It doesn’t make sense to ignore pet care for any of the following reasons: money, time or effort (cats hate the vet!). All three will be greater the longer you wait to bring your pet to the vet.
Another reason pet owners avoid the vet is because they think it’s unnecessary. With the advent of online medical resources and pharmacies, many owners diagnose their pets at home, and treat them according to the Wikipedia article’s instructions.
The Internet is a wonderful medium for obtaining all relevant information, and that information should be brought to your vet visit, too—but no one on the Internet knows your cat, or your dog, or you. The inherent problem with self-diagnoses is that they depend on general, impersonal information to address a specific, personal problem. Knowing your vet, and giving your vet the opportunity to get to know your pet well enough to treat him or her according to his/her biochemical individuality, is a much more intelligent choice than blindly honing in on a problem based on one or two symptoms.
There are a million excuses for you not to trek to the vet—and none are valid, because there are a million more reasons for your pet to still see his doc regularly.
Have you had a personal battle over whether or not to take your pet to the vet? What won out and why?