AVMA, Fort Doge expand national program

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Apr 01, 2005

LAS VEGAS — The increasing number of geriatric pets in the United States is more than enough justification to recommend twice-a-year veterinary visits.

That was the message from Dr. Bonnie Beaver, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), who helped introduce the expansion of National Pet Wellness Month, a consumer education campaign from AVMA and Fort Dodge Animal Health to promote the need for veterinary care.

A new campaign is slated to debut this spring officials announced at the Western Veterinary Conference.

Beaver says the new consumer education push is targeted to pet owners with a simple message: Veterinarians can catch disease earlier in the process, especially for aging animals, through increased visits. Human dentists were touted as an example of success with this preventive strategy.

"Disease prevention is as critical a part of today's veterinary practice as is the treatment of illness. As our clients' focus on pet health increases, the benefits of twice-a-year pet wellness exams become obvious," Beaver says. "Through the AVMA partnership with Fort Dodge Animal Health, we have put in place an important program that fosters animal health, a stronger veterinarian-client relationship and better informed customers."

The campaign includes a new set of tools to help veterinarians, including posters, a "disease wheel", client literature and clinic education materials, says Dr. Stephen Jaffe, director of field veterinary services for Fort Dodge. The campaign is dubbed "Know Your Pet's Preventable Threats." Pet wellness exams can help veterinarians diagnose, treat and prevent disease conditions.

In addition, officials say the AVMA and Fort Dodge will work with the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues to develop a new benchmarking tool to help veterinarians financially track the benefits of twice-yearly examinations.