Why Pets Visit Vets

Pet Tales
by Barry B. Burtis D.V.M.

Why Pets Visit Vets

There are many reasons for a pet to visit a veterinarian. It should happen when a new pet arrives. It is important to be sure the new arrival is healthy and has no diseases that could threaten its health or the health of others in the family. It is a time to lay the foundation for a health care plan to best achieve a long, happy, healthy life for the pet. Throughout the animal's life regular visits to a veterinarian will likely focus on efforts to maintain good health - checkups, vaccines and dental care. A senior pet often requires more frequent care from the veterinary health care team. Aging places more burden on a number of body organ systems. Attention must be given to measures to assure the pet has a good quality life through these years.

Additionally, at anytime during its life, a pet's unexpected illness or disease will likely require consultation with a veterinarian. Many people now have pet health insurance to help them provide medical care for their pet. Recently, information supplied by a pet health insurer in the United States has shown the most common reasons that cats and dogs require veterinary visits.

In 2005, for the second year in a row, urinary tract infection was the top medical condition that cat owners filed medical claims for, according to Veterinary Pet Insurance Company claims data. The other top 10 claims by incident for cats were as follows:
                                              2. Stomach upsets
                                              3. Kidney disease
                                              4. Skin allergies
                                              5. Respiratory infections
                                              6. Diabetes
                                              7. Ear Infections
                                              8. Colitis
                                              9. Eye infections
                                              10. Wound infections.

The highest number of claims, for dogs, in 2005 was veterinary visits for skin allergies. In 2004 this problem had ranked second. The others in the top 10 claims for dogs were:
                                              2. Ear infections
                                              3. Stomach upsets
                                              4. Bladder infections
                                              5. Benign tumours
                                              6. Osteoarthritis
                                              7. Sprains
                                              8. Eye infections
                                              9. Enteritis
                                              10. Hypothyroidism

I would suggest it might be helpful for pet owners to look at these lists with more than just passing interest. I believe they provide quite an accurate guide to the most common disorders that your own pet might encounter sometime during its life. The old adage that says a gram of prevention is worth a kilogram of cure should be remembered. It is just as true and just as applicable when it comes to pet health care as it is elsewhere in life.

The next time you take your pet to visit the veterinarian, consider talking with someone about the risk for your pet from some of these conditions listed. If, indeed, there are some problems identified, there are likely some actions you can take that will reduce the possibility of them causing trouble for your pet. The veterinary health care team and other sources of information help will you learn more about what you can do to benefit your pet. You are your pet's best resource in achieving good health.