New Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare formed

Using the theme of "Houston, we have a problem," leaders of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) announced the formation of a new organization to promote pet wellness and address the downward trend in veterinary visits.

The Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare (PPPH) was announced July 18, 2011, at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) convention in St. Louis, by AAHA President Michael Moyer, VMD, and AVMA CEO W. Ron DeHaven, DVM, MBA. DeHaven said that like the crew and support team of Apollo 13 (which is where the phrase "Houston, we have a problem" originated from), the PPPH was formed to bring the profession together to find solutions to some of the industry’s most pressing problems.

Citing the Banfield Pet Hospital State of Pet Health 2011 Report, the presenters pointed out that the prevalence of several preventable diseases has increased over the last five years. For example, the study showed a 30% rise in the prevalence of internal parasites in dogs, and a 32% rise in cases of diabetes in dogs. Cats showed a 16% increase in flea and tick infestation, and a 10% increase in dental disease.

Recent data from the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study conducted by Bayer Animal Health, Brakke Consulting and the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI) and other studies have shown a drop in veterinary visits in recent years. The reported increase in pet health problems and declining visits was one of the main reasons for the formation of the partnership.

One of the short-term goals of the PPPH is to release Preventive Healthcare Guidelines for dogs and cats. The guidelines were developed by a task force assembled by AAHA and the AVMA, and will be published in the journals of both associations, as well as in other publications this fall.

The PPPH is comprised of 16 veterinary organizations including associations and animal health companies.

The organization has five key objectives:

· Address the increasing prevalence of serious diseases and the declining health of our nation’s pets

· Enhance pet owners’ perceived value of preventive veterinary care

· Ensure regular veterinary visits become the norm

· Increase the understanding of the veterinarian’s central role in the health and happiness of pets

· Make increasing preventive health care of cats a priority

Over the next few years, the PPPH will continue to communicate its findings on the negative trends in the veterinary profession; disseminate the Preventive Healthcare Guidelines; provide tools for practices to use; and begin consumer-directed initiatives to reach out to pet owners.

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