Calgary Herald

Why pet owners fear vet visits

- wendy McClelland

Pet owners want what is best for their pets, but a lack of informatio­n and financial concerns are the two biggest obstacles to improving pet health.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Associatio­n (AVMA), pets are not seeing the veterinari­an as frequently as they used to.

A new study revealed a few possible reasons why, from higher than expected costs for vet services, to difficulty taking cats to a clinic, to pet owners using the Internet as a source of informatio­n.

I would be willing to bet that many of these factors also apply in our neck of the woods as were shown in the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study. I recently conducted a survey of my own veterinary clients to find out what their biggest fears and frustratio­ns are. Here is what I found.

What is your single biggest fear (pet health)?

Sixty per cent answered: “Not knowing if my animal is sick or in pain or finding out that he or she is sick when it is too late to do anything about it.”

Pet owners also reported being nervous about not being able to afford the rising costs associated with veterinary care, particular­ly if a pet was to develop a major illness or injury. Fifteen per cent of owners also said they were afraid of their pets developing cancer. What is the single biggest frustratio­n of pet care? Weight management Nutrition and trying to pick the right food

The cost of good food and vet car Keeping pets’ teeth clean What topics would you like to learn more about? Nutrition Preventive care Dental health Behaviour Weight management Senior pet diseases Seventy per cent of owners also reported that they already use or would be interested in trying alternativ­e medicine options such as acupunctur­e or Chinese herbs.

In my opinion, regular wellness checkups (once or twice a year, depending on your pet’s age) are a good idea. During a wellness visit, owners and veterinari­ans have the time to discuss nutrition, behaviour, the aging process, alternativ­e care options, and other preventive care topics instead of just putting out the fire of the latest illness or injury. Books and reputable Internet sites are wonderful sources for general informatio­n, but your veterinari­an is in the best position to make specific recommenda­tions for your pet.

Yes, wellness visits do cost money, but think of them as insurance. It can be hard to see their value, until the unexpected happens — your vet finds a tumour when it is small and can be completely cured with a relatively minor surgery, or he or she diagnoses your dog with arthritis, and the treatment makes him act like a puppy again. You may never know the heartbreak and expense you avoid with regular wellness visits, but they are worth every cent you invest in them.

Dr. WenDy McclellanD proviDes personaliz­eD, expert vet services in the coMfort of your hoMe. she is the author of the seven hiDDen Warning

signs your pet’s health is at risk.

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 ?? Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald ?? Vet Dr. Wendy McClelland listens to the heart of feline patient Bart during an examinatio­n at the home of Janice lovejoy.
Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald Vet Dr. Wendy McClelland listens to the heart of feline patient Bart during an examinatio­n at the home of Janice lovejoy.

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