Preventive Veterinary Care Can Lower Pet Medical Expenses
One of the costliest aspects of being a pet owner is providing proper veterinary care when medical issues arise. A great way to take a bite out of veterinary expenses without shortchanging your pet’s health is to provide preventive care with annual comprehensive wellness examinations. To show the potential savings that wellness care can provide, Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, recently sorted through its database of more than 600,000 insured pets to determine cost savings associated with the most common preventive dog and cat conditions. Following is a cost analysis of the five most common ailments that can be avoided through preventive veterinary care:
Examples: Tooth infection or cavity; periodontal disease.
Average cost per pet to treat: $391
Average cost per pet to prevent: $180
Prevention tips: Routine dental care, such as brushing your pet’s teeth, can result in improved overall health. The most effective preventive treatment for dental disease is having your pet’s teeth cleaned by a veterinary professional. This annual cleaning will remove plaque buildup and tartar before it leads to more serious oral issues, such as tooth decay and periodontal disease. It’s recommended that pets have their teeth checked by a veterinarian every six to 12 months.
Examples: Lyme disease transmitted by ticks; and allergic dermatitis caused by fleas.
Average cost per pet to treat: $244
Average cost per pet to prevent: $121
Prevention tips: Use preventive flea and tick medications as recommended by your veterinarian. Keep your pet and home environment free of fleas and ticks. Thoroughly check your pets after outdoor activities and contact your veterinarian if fleas and ticks are spotted.
Examples: Heartworms, roundworms, tapeworms and Giardia.
Average cost per pet to treat: $207
Average cost per pet to prevent: $35
Prevention tips: Annual fecal exams and preventive medications can greatly reduce the chance of a parasitic infestation. Keep your pet and your home environment free of fleas. Clean up your pet’s feces immediately, and eliminate exposure to the feces of other animals when your pet ventures outside your home.
Examples: Parvovirus, Lyme disease and feline leukemia virus.
Average cost per pet to treat: $841
Average cost per dog to prevent using core vaccines: $94
Average cost per cat to prevent using core vaccines: $81
Prevention tips: Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent contraction of common canine and feline infectious diseases. A vaccination protocol recommended by your veterinarian may include additional vaccines based on your pet’s exposure risk (e.g. outside cat, area with high prevalence of ticks, etc.).
Reproductive Organ Diseases:
Examples: Pyometra (infection of uterus), prostatitis (infection or inflammation of prostate gland) and ovarian neoplasia.
Average cost per pet to treat: $609
Average cost per pet to prevent: $323
Prevention tips: Spay (removal of the ovaries and uterus of a female pet) or neuter (removal of the testicles of a male pet) your pet, as recommended by your veterinarian.
Examples: Tracheobronchitis or kennel cough; feline upper respiratory virus
Average cost per pet to treat: $190
Average cost per dog to prevent: $24
Average cost per cat to prevent: $21
Prevention tips: The Bordatella vaccination as recommended by your veterinarian.
“Seeking a veterinarian’s recommendation for wellness care not only saves pet owners money, but also helps prevent our pets from unnecessary, painful ailments,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary officer for Nationwide. “The cornerstone of good veterinary care has always been catching diseases early. I strongly recommend that pet owners schedule routine wellness examinations with their local veterinarian. Being proactive is in your pet’s best interest.”