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Preventive Health Plans

The verdict is in…

In July of 2015, the Armitage Animal Clinic launched its Preventive Health Plans (PHPs). These are basically packages that encompass veterinary services that are pertinent for different life stages. They have been separated into three key life stages – puppy/kitten, adult dog/cat, and mature (senior) dog/cat. It must be emphasized that these plans are not to be confused with medical insurance. The latter is strongly recommended for those unexpected medical emergencies.

Within these plans we have fine-tuned them even further to meet the needs of each life stage.

For example, with the adult plans there is an option to include a dental assessment and cleaning. In contrast, the dental assessment and cleaning is mandatory in the senior plans as by that life stage we have found that the vast majority of our senior pets have moderate to advanced periodontal disease. In our senior plans, the distinguishing factor between gold and platinum has more to do with those clinical signs that may need further investigation and where there is evidence of deterioration in organ function (further may include diagnostic x-rays and ultrasounds).

The whole point of our Preventive Health Plans is not to confuse the owners with the numerous features, but to highlight the superior benefits of these packages. The benefits are vast and by grouping the plans by life stage, we are able to define and include the most important aspect for our pediatrics, adults, and seniors. As is seen in the human world, the requirements and changes are quite well defined and vary between the groups.

For the puppies and kittens, initially our emphasis is to have them come into the hospital at monthly intervals to ensure proper growth – we address their changing nutritional needs, make dietary recommendations, ensure that their dentition is developing properly, and ensure that their immune system is supported so that they are able to combat any infectious agents that could wreak havoc on their health. Most importantly, and as this is a public health concern, we want to ensure that we check for parasites and treat them appropriately so that our puppy’s/kitten’s growth is not hindered.

For our adults, the key benefits emphasize early detection of pain and illness before the pet manifests more severe concerns. This is also an opportunity for us to educate clients on what to anticipate as the pet matures into the senior years. Emphasis is on nutrition and keeping a close eye on organ function which can be achieved with the recommended blood and urine tests.

Finally with our senior stage of life, we know that if we are able to give pets dignity and quality of life, they can live well into their senior years, and maximize their longevity. We cannot over emphasize the importance of early disease identification through semi-annual visits. In my experience, these semi-annual assessments have been extremely beneficial to pets because they are aging at an accelerated rate compared to humans. Each calendar year equates to 4-6 years of a pet’s life, with a semi-annual assessment, we eliminate missing out on 2 years of aging and have an underlying concern go undetected until the next annual visit.

I have been ecstatic with the response to our Preventive Health Plans. Approximately 25% of our clients are enrolled in the senior plans, thereby enjoying its benefits. As a consequence, we are able to keep on top of pain be it oral, musculo/skeletal or associated with growths (that almost always inevitably occur). We are then able to monitor these growths and do the appropriate testing to ensure they don’t change into a malignancy.

As well, we have been able to diagnose diseases that have probably been around in many of our other pets, but were not offered as a specific service simply because it is an extra cost that doesn’t convey that strong value that our owners are after. For example, the benefits of intra-ocular pressures underlines that glaucoma remains undetected in a large percentage of our middle-aged to senior pets. This is a very painful condition in which our pets often do not display obvious signs of pain. It goes without saying that by keeping a close monitor on our pets’ blood pressure and internal organ function, we can be more proactive in steering off chronic diseases such as cardiac and renal (kidney) disease.

The overall response to our Preventive Health Plans has been extremely favourable and underlines our mandate of “Providing Excellence in Healthcare for Our Pets”. We strongly encourage you to take a closer look or reconsider these plans, if you haven’t already, as it is a powerful program for enhancing our fur babies’ health care and takes the fear and anxiety out of paying substantial vet bills as it can be managed as a more attractive monthly payment.

We look forward to seeing you at our clinic and invite you to contact us with any of your questions.

 

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