Click here to learn more.
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
As the chief veterinary officer of
Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), I'm always thinking about ways to keep our pets healthier. And pet owners are an important part of this process. Recently, I had a revelation: If you want to prevent some of the misery that plagues so many pets, start by checking your
cat regularly for developing problems. It's a simple thing to do — just give him a once-over every day as you pet him.
I arrived at that conclusion after reviewing our annual media release of the most common claims of 2013.
Skin problems and
ear infections continue to dominate our top 10 claims, which collectively totaled almost half a million incidents and $66 million in expenses last year.
Since some of these conditions can be improved or resolved with early treatment or successfully managed in partnership with a veterinarian, I found myself wondering how many of these claims could have been avoided with preventive wellness care and early intervention.
Here are the top 10 claims and their per-incident average, based on VPI's 2013 claims data. As always, I must note that veterinary costs vary widely by region:
You can see why I think preventive medicine and early intervention can help a lot of pets. Skin allergies top the list, but new studies show that contrary to the popular belief that frequent bathing is bad for a dog’s skin and coat, regular bathing may be helpful in managing skin allergies. In addition, veterinarians can help prevent or treat some kinds of skin disease and manage others with new medications that can help relieve
itching and scratching.
Preventive care is key to heading off disaster. Early intervention and management of skin allergies may help reduce the occurrence of several of these issues, specifically ear infections, skin infections and hot spots. And in the case of No. 7, preventive care can make a huge difference in slowing or stopping the progression to serious dental and periodontal disease.
In fact, if you add in feeding a good-quality diet and keeping your home pet-safe by putting away items that (when ingested) may cause
vomiting and diarrhea, you can make the case that prevention and early veterinary intervention can dramatically lower the rates of many of the conditions on this list.
As the nation’s first and largest pet health insurance company, we have paid out millions and millions in claims over the last three decades. And we’ll continue to do so, proudly. But as a veterinarian, I find myself very happy with the current trend toward
preventive and wellness care. We have long practiced human medicine this way, and it makes sense to reduce illness, suffering and, yes, cost by making wellness care routine in veterinary medicine.
The place to start saving money — and improving your pet's quality of life — is with a call to your veterinarian for a
comprehensive wellness exam. Because heading illness off at the pass is just plain good medicine.
More on Vetstreet.com:
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
A Florida police officer became a hero for
a Pit Bull puppy he saved during the early
morning hours of his 12-hour…
Do you know what it means when your
dog wags his tail or shows his belly? The
answers may surprise you.
From adopting on a whim to overlooking
senior dogs, here are the errors people
often make when rescuing shelter…
You may love the idea of sharing your
bed with a kitten, but Dr. Marty Becker
says you should wait until he's older.
Annual examinations are the cornerstone
of a good preventive care regimen and
can save you money in the long run.
If you've ever vacationed on the Greek islands, you may have noticed Aegean Cats hanging around fishing boats.
There's a lot of false information out there
about heartworm disease, so we're
debunking common misconceptions.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
Visit HealthyPet magazine for interviews with pet-loving celebrities, health advice from our experts, training tips and…
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.