Toolbox for Healthy Pets

Program offers resources to help veterinarians promote preventive care
Published on September 05, 2012
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The new Partners for Healthy Pets program offers a free online Practice Resources Toolbox to help veterinarians overcome barriers to preventive care for cats and dogs.
The Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare launched the program Aug. 6 at the AVMA Annual Convention in San Diego with a full-day symposium, a press conference, and a lunchtime session. From Aug. 4-6, the partnership’s booth in the exhibit hall provided demonstrations of the comprehensive resources toolbox. 


An online survey tool that allows practices to uncover gaps between what they communicate about preventive care and what pet owners understand​


Resources designed to assist practices in implementing the guidelines on canine and feline preventive care from the AVMA
and American Animal Hospital Association ​


Resources that start with an overview of package plans for preventive care and continue with an implementation manual and team training materials​


The Internet Strategy Implementation Series providing instructional video modules on subjects such as veterinary websites, search engines, and reputation management​


A series of brief instructional videos covering in-person communication skills to help the practice team ensure client understanding of preventive pet health care​


Tools from the American Association of Feline Practitioners, CATalyst Council, and AAHA to help make practices more feline-friendly​

“Where we want to go with the partnership is creating this connection between the pet owner and the veterinarian, where they’re working together in partnership to develop a lifelong plan to maximize the health and life of the pet,” said Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA chief executive officer and chairman of the partnership, speaking during the overview session of the symposium.
The AVMA announced the formation of the partnership at the 2011 convention. Members include the AVMA, American Animal Hospital Association, other veterinary associations, and various animal health companies. The mission is “to ensure that pets receive the preventive healthcare they deserve through regular visits to a veterinarian.”
  Photo by R. Scott Nolen
The partnership invested in extensive research and development in the intervening year to create the Partners for Healthy Pets program. The program’s toolbox offers an in-depth survey tool as well as resources in five other areas—guidelines for preventive care, package plans for preventive care, Internet marketing, communications, and feline-friendly practice. 

Survey says

The survey tool, The Opportunity, is the flagship tool of the Partners for Healthy Pets program. The Opportunity allows practices to administer an online survey to practice team members and clients to compare perspectives on preventive care. The results can help practices develop strategies to improve delivery of preventive care.
Dr. Diane Eigner, director of The Cat Hospital in Philadelphia, and George Bailey, hospital manager at Stratham-Newfields Veterinary Hospital in Newfields, N.H., spoke in March during the AAHA annual conference about participating in a preliminary test group for the survey tool. At the AVMA Annual Convention, they spoke about that ex-perience and about participating in a larger pilot group.
Dr. Eigner said the survey results for her practice uncovered some gaps in communication about preventive care.
“Things that my staff and I find very, very important, that we think we talk about at every preventative visit, some clients didn’t remember it being discussed at all,” Dr. Eigner said. “It was an aha moment, where we recognized that maybe we’re messaging, but maybe we’re not messaging the right way.”
The Opportunity underlines the importance of preventive care, Bailey said.
“This is to reinforce what we’re already doing well, so we can do it better,” Bailey said.
He added, “It didn’t disrupt our schedule, and it didn’t cost us anything. So to have this really professional survey, that looks good, that enhances the profile of your practice, and to have it for free, it was a win-win.” 

Taking action

The online Practice Resources Toolbox offers a variety of other free resources to help practices improve the delivery of preventive care.
Late last year, the AVMA and AAHA released guidelines for canine and feline preventive care, available through the toolbox. The toolbox provides resources for implementing the guidelines in the form of an inspirational video, a team meeting guide, a practice action plan, a customizable presentation, and webinars.
The recent Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study found that many pet owners have an interest in full-year health plans for their pets and monthly payments for routine veterinary services. The toolbox offers an overview of package plans for preventive care, an implementation manual, and team training materials.
The Practice Resources Toolbox is available at
Practices can log in with an AVMA or AAHA member number.



In the area of Internet marketing, the toolbox is providing the Internet Strategy Implementation Series of five instructional video modules with supportive materials. The first module offers an overview of veterinary marketing and online client engagement. The other modules cover veterinary websites, search engines, social media, and reputation management.
To strengthen in-person communication skills, the toolbox will be offering a series of videos that cover communication during elicitation of a patient history, physical examination, and discussion of specific issues in preventive care.
The American Association of Feline Practitioners and CATalyst Council as well as AAHA are providing resources for feline-friendly practice. The toolbox links to relevant webinars, the AAFP Cat Friendly Practice Program, and videos from CATalyst.
Speaking at the press conference, Dr. DeHaven said the Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare is reaching out to the profession to improve the delivery of preventive care.
“The partnership exists because we’re not delivering optimum care to our pets. We’re the best in the world at treating sick and injured animals, but we’re not very good at focusing on preventive care,” Dr. DeHaven said. “We need to be intervening earlier.”