The American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association Preventive Healthcare Guidelines Task Force have released their recommendations for pet dogs and cats. Their goal was to create a set of guidelines to not only improve the quality of healthcare delivered by veterinarians, but also increase pet owner satisfaction, and allow for informed decision making without compromising healthcare outcomes. Interestingly, some recent research has suggested pet owners have been visiting veterinarians less frequently, relying more on self diagnosis and use of the Internet – and I suspect the health and well being of many pets has been compromised as a results. There’s a reason your veterinarian went to school for 4+ years and had to pass an exam or two to practice. Interestingly, as a result of decreased use of routine preventive veterinary care has led to a rise in preventable diseases like diabetes mellitus, dental disease, parasitism, and ear infections (otitis). Moreover, the lack of regular veterinary visits can allow diseases like arthritis and kidney disease to progress more rapidly due to lack of careful oversight and management. Another goal of the task force was to help the general public understand how regular, preventive care. In this tough economy the focus on preventive care should be welcome news to pet owners: preventing a disease is always cheaper than treating a disease!! In the next few posts, I’ll review what the new guidelines are for dogs and cats.