Pets Visit Doctor More Often Than People

New poll shows people take their pets to the vet more often than they visit the doctor.

Posted: December 4 2007 2 a.m. EDT

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Pets Visit Doctor More Often Than People
A new poll shows that cats visit a veterinarian more frequently than their owners visit a doctor.
About 96 percent of pet owners take their pet to the veterinarian for routine care at least once a year, according to a poll of 4,000 Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) policyholders and website visitors. Forty-three percent make multiple visits during the year.

In comparison, 83 percent of adults in the United States had contact with a health care professional within the year, according to a 2005 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The data further reinforces the fact that pets are becoming integral family members,” Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI said. “More people are becoming attuned to the medical needs of their pets, which include everything from emergency care to preventive procedures, such as vaccinations and physical exams.”

In 2006, “wellcare” visits and physical exams were the most common preventive care claims the insurance company received. Wellcare visits consist of discussing the pet’s overall health, including nutrition, behavior, weight assessment, activity levels and the pet’s general appearance.

“In the past, many pet owners viewed a veterinarian’s primary role as healing sick pets,” McConnell said. “Today, more pet owners are taking advantage of the veterinarian’s ability to keep their pet healthy with regular physical examinations, vaccinations and other wellcare procedures.”

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Reader Comments

TJF    Ft. Lauderdale, FL

2/29/2012 11:03:25 PM

These numbers would be wonderful, but the fact is, that this study was done on VPI Pet Insurance customers ONLY,.....this demographic is the type that would definitely take their pets to the vet more often, heck , they even bought them health insurance! Although I do believe that in general, the general public is taking the dogs to the vets more often than, say, 10-15 yeas ago, the fact is that CATS are seriously under- represented in these groups. If you check out the Association of Feline Practitioners online, you will see that they are initiating a take-your-cat-to-the-vet awareness campaign, to change all this.

Ellen    Attleboro, MA

12/5/2007 12:36:35 AM

I really should have pet insurance! Cost more for vet bills than my own Dr.

Leanne    Schofield, WI

12/4/2007 7:35:02 PM

It's great to hear so many people are concerned about their cat's health. I agree, my cats probably see the vet more often than I go the doctor.

Angela    Hamburg, NY

12/4/2007 6:58:36 PM

Well it is true that people are taking more and better care of their pets. I think it is important to remember that maybe some of the resources that are being funneled into the pet care industry could be used to help, medically, children in third world countries. They are the ones that need the medicine and doctors, not our spoiled, pampered pets.

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