This spring, thousands of veterinarians across the country are participating in the Spring Pet Wellness Campaign to raise consumer awareness about preventable threats to pet health and emphasize the importance of twice-a-year wellness examinations for dogs and cats. The campaign is co-sponsored by the AVMA and Fort Dodge Animal Health.
Participating veterinary clinics have received valuable tools to help educate clients about the various diseases threatening pets and the lifesaving benefits of disease prevention. "Know Your Pet's Preventable Threats" tools include posters, client literature, and clinic educational materials. The tools are designed to assist local veterinarians and staff in educating clients about pet health threats that begin to appear during the spring season. The materials will also help educate pet owners about how twice-a-year pet examinations can help detect, treat, and, ideally, prevent life-threatening illnesses and diseases before they occur.
"Spring is when disease-carrying mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas start becoming active and a threat to pets. Disease can also be contracted by exposure to wildlife, other pets, and even standing water," said Dr. Stephen Jaffe, director of field veterinary services for Fort Dodge Animal Health. "Fortunately, pet owners can protect their pets from many common diseases by having their veterinarians thoroughly assess the pet's exposure to environmental risks, conduct a wellness exam every six months, and administer appropriate vaccinations."
This is not the first time the AVMA and Fort Dodge have teamed up to promote pet wellness. In October 2004, they sponsored National Pet Wellness Month, which aimed to raise consumer awareness about the pet aging process and the importance of twice-a-year wellness examinations. A national publicity effort targeted pet owners with the message and encouraged individuals to contact their veterinarian for more information. More than 10,000 veterinary clinics, about 40 percent of all U.S. clinics, signed up for the inaugural National Pet Wellness Month.
On the basis of input from participating veterinarians, the AVMA and Fort Dodge decided to launch a spring campaign to complement the fall campaign's examination message and provide assistance in integrating the twice-a-year wellness examination protocols into veterinary practices. For this reason, the spring packet contains not only valuable materials but helpful tips on displaying materials in clinics as well.
To assist veterinarians and clinic staff in refining risk assessment procedures and integrating twice-a-year examinations and modified vaccination protocols into their practice, Fort Dodge is working with leading industry consultants to develop training modules, processes, and hands-on educational tools. "Fort Dodge Animal Health's Responsible Health Care for Pets program is being expanded in response to veterinarians' requests for more support in educating themselves, their staff, and pet owners, to the new protocols," Dr. Jaffe said.
The National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues will also develop a new benchmarking tool and related data to support veterinarians when they decide to integrate the twice-a-year examinations into their practices. This commission has 38 free benchmarking tools available at www.ncvei.org addressing all aspects of veterinary practice, ranging from pricing to operations. The NCVEI is a joint venture of the AVMA, the American Animal Hospital Association, and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, and is funded, in part, by Fort Dodge.
"Disease prevention is as critical a part of today's veterinary practice as is the treatment of illness," said Dr. Bonnie V. Beaver, AVMA president. "As our clients' focus on pet health increases, the benefits of twice-a-year pet wellness exams become obvious. Through the AVMA's 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 consumers."
Veterinary clinics that participated in the fall 2004 NPWM campaign automatically received a free spring campaign education kit. Other clinics wishing to receive the free educational materials can do so by visiting www.npwm.com or e-mailing a request to infonationalpetwellnessmonth [dot] com. Requests should contain a contact name, clinic name, shipping address, and telephone number. Veterinarians can also participate by visiting the Fort Dodge Animal Health booth at an upcoming trade show or contacting their Fort Dodge Animal Health representative.