Annual Exams: Aren’t they Just another Way for Vets to Line their Pockets?

Great question for anyone who owns a pet. If there is no advantage then why take the time or spend the money. I have had several people actually believe and say something along the line of “It’s just another way to line the pockets of veterinarians.” If that is true then pet owners beware of the greedy vets. The real question should be why do want all pet owners to have regular exams on their pets.

Statistics from the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association have shown an increase in preventable diseases in pets while visits to veterinarians have decreased. It is very common for pet owners to believe that vaccines are the core of preventive health for their pets. Reality is that the more common diseases are not preventable through vaccines. These diseases include: diabetes mellitus, dental disease, parasitism, ear infections, renal disease, arthritis, and obesity. These disease are not only more prevalent but as you could guess decreases life expectancy, increases morbidity (animals not feeling well), and contributes to decrease activity and happiness of our pets.

When it comes to vaccines and when or which ones to give is not as straight forward and easy as one might first assume. About once every 4-6 years new vaccine guidelines are published. Vaccines are categorized as “core” or “none core” vaccines. Core vaccines are recommended for every pet while noncore vaccines are only given when disease prevalence within a given location and when risk of exposure is sufficient to warrant the use of these vaccines. Evidence also shows us that some vaccines will build a much longer duration of immunity than others so every vaccine does not need to be given every year. Diseases, vaccines and vaccine technology is always advancing and our protocols need to adapt with our new understandings.

The only way that the best preventive health care plan can be created for your pet is through what is called a valid veterinary-client-patient-relationship. This relationship is created through the ability for the veterinarian to get to know your pet, its lifestyle, your concerns and history of your pets, and a complete physical exam. By doing this we can create not only the best vaccination plan but also look at other avenues to decrease the likelihood or effects of other diseases.

All too often we allow the well intention of others to determine how we take care of our pets. While these individuals often have some good insight they do not have all of the training and resources to give all of the advice needed.

Take the time to bring your pets in and let’s discuss our lifestage preventive health care together. This is the best way to insure your pets receive the right care.


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