Partners for Healthy Pets unveils campaign to boost annual checkup numbers

During the 2013 AVMA Annual Convention in Chicago, Partners for Healthy Pets (PHP) revealed its ambitious public information campaign to help veterinarians communicate the value of preventive care to pet owners, which will result in increased annual checkups and overall healthier pets.

Partners for Healthy Pets, a coalition that includes AAHA, the AVMA, and more than 90 organizations across all levels of the veterinary profession, also will mount a consumer-facing campaign to educate pet owners about how visiting their veterinarian at least once a year can help their pets live longer and stay healthier.

With the combined effort, Partners for Healthy Pets hopes to help veterinarians bring in more clients for annual checkups, as well as steer pets away from cancer, obesity, and other quickly spreading health hazards.

Helping veterinarians more effectively advocate for preventive care

The veterinarian-centered portion of the program offers veterinarians a focused strategy to help them communicate the need for preventive care to their clients. There is much room for improvement in this area among veterinarians, as 56% of pet owners said their veterinarians do not clearly explain when they should bring their pets in for various procedures or tests, according to the 2011 Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study that PHP quotes on its website.

To help practices have a more effective preventive care dialogue with clients, PHP offers free resources such as a toolkit that includes an enrollment brochure, hospital checklist, preventive healthcare guidelines, and window cling. Practices can also find training videos, scripts for veterinary teams, and educational materials on the PHP website.

Convincing pet owners of the need for lifelong veterinary care

The second part of the public information campaign involves a direct-to-consumer communications program that reinforces to pet owners the importance of lifelong veterinary care for their pets. With this part of the campaign, Partners for Healthy Pets intends to address another finding from the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study - that 24 percent of pet owners believe routine checkups are unnecessary.

“We know that better pet health starts with a conversation between a pet owner and their veterinarian. That’s why Partners for Healthy Pets is launching a robust pet owner campaign to help veterinary clients understand how they can protect their pet’s health through the annual veterinary visit. By helping people understand the importance of the yearly visit to their family veterinarian, we will better educate pet owners about the vital role of the veterinarian and remind them that the veterinary team should be the primary resource to get the best information for their pet’s care. We know that veterinary professionals work hard to provide the best care to pets; now it’s time to spread the word to consumers so that they and their pets can enjoy long and healthy lives together,” said Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, AAHA chief executive officer.

AAHA also announced that it is donating $200,000 to Partners for Healthy Pets as part of its commitment to the program.

The multi-million dollar campaign will begin this fall and will feature print and online outreach, as well as appearances by veterinarians on select talk shows and news media outlets, according to PHP.

How veterinarians can join Partners for Healthy Pets

Veterinarians can join Partners for Healthy Pets for free, giving their entire practice staff access to helpful resources such as the toolkit and educational materials on the website. Gain access to these materials and find more information at the Partners for Healthy Pets website