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Conclusion

The ultimate goal of wellness care is improved quality of life and longevity. Comprehensive life stage wellness care permits early detection and treatment or control of disease and cost-saving in long-term healthcare expenses. Clearly defined wellness plans encourage a unified approach from the entire veterinary team. The client is a crucial member of this team. A collaborative approach is generally linked to best outcomes.11,96 Table 4 (below) provides web-based resources useful to both the veterinary team and clients.
 

A strong, clear recommendation must always begin with the veterinarian and be followed up by the entire veterinary team. Incorporate individualized life stage guidelines into reminder and callback systems.48 Strong, unified follow-up recommendations from the multiple members of the entire veterinary team will produce better compliance. Discuss future life stage recommendations beginning with the first visit to help set client expectations. Make it easy for the client to comply (e.g., consider types of or timing of preventive medications), advise clients of the risks and benefits, and provide encouragement in carrying out the patient’s wellness care needs.

Discuss healthcare financial planning to help pet owners prepare for the costs associated with optimal healthcare. Discuss wellness plans, including the pros and cons of insurance and/or other forms of healthcare financial planning to help pet owners comply with an optimal wellness plan. Staging of procedures, multiple visits, and various payment options may help increase compliance and ensure that patients receive as many of the wellness recommendations as possible.

TABLE 4

Useful resources for providing individualized patient care at all life stages

Website Information on Website
American Veterinary Dental College Dental information for veterinarians and pet owners
American Animal
Hospital Association
Anesthesia guidelines; Dental care guidelines; Nutritional assessment guidelines; Pain management guidelines; Senior care guidelines; Vaccination guidelines; Position on frequency of veterinary visits; and other animal welfare issues
American Association of Feline Practitioners Feline life stage guidelines (and many other guidelines for cats)
American College of Veterinary Nutrition List of board-certified veterinary specialists in nutrition who can provide nutritional consultation
American Heartworm Society Prevalence, diagnosis, and treatment of heartworm disease
American Veterinary Medical Association Position statements (microchip, dog bite prevention, animal welfare, travel with animals); and recalls and alerts issued regarding pet and animal feeds
American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Position statements (e.g., on puppy socialization)
Canine Inherited Disorders Database Disorders by breed/inheritance
CDC Guidelines for veterinarians: prevention of zoonotic transmission of ascarids and hookworms of dogs and cats; and information about ecto and endo-parasites
CAPC Internal parasite guidelines
FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Regulatory and safety issues, adverse event reporting, meetings, industry information
FDA Pet Food Site Information, links, food safety issues, recalls, pet food labels,
selecting nutritious foods, handling raw foods
University of Cambridge Inherited diseases in dogs database