Preventative Medicine is the Best Medicine for Your Pet

I think that one of the unexpected challenges of being a medical practitioner, be it a veterinarian or human doctor, comes in the form of accepting the fact that our patient’s health is often a direct reflection of our ability to be an effective communicator and teacher. I find that this is regularly true when it comes to explaining to patients/clients that Standard of Care is more of a concept than it is a tried and true course of treatment. The fact that research and development has led to new vaccines and medications or that the access to diagnostics is no longer a rarity in smaller towns or smaller practices is something that creates a void where teaching is a necessity because, now more than ever, veterinary medicine reflects those same advances that people most often associate with human medicine.

It is a weekly occurrence in our practice to sit down with a client to explain what we have deemed as the core components of a patient’s Standard of Care and to be met with some degree of unfamiliarity of what the purpose is for each of those pieces. Although Standard of Care may be a more familiar term for the items that we have determined to be necessary to avoid common illnesses, it is really just a coy way of guiding our patients and clients down the path of preventative medicine. What we often times have to stop to explain is that being more engaged and aware in their pet’s life when they are healthy is what can determine how much longer and healthier those lives can be.

The Benefits of Early Diagnosis

This concept applies perfectly to yearly wellness checks and problem-based visits for senior pets. In the realm of medicine, preventative implies that the outcome, however mild or severe, has some ability to be avoided by taking the necessary precautionary steps to “catch” abnormalities early enough to stop or reverse the disease processes. Because the idea of health being thought of as fluid environment where things are always moving towards or away from the ideal state is a difficult concept to envision, preventative medicine is the time where a patient is healthy is oftentimes a challenging approach.

The term Preventative Medicine is one of those ideas where the definition of the word is vitally important to the concept. When we have patients that come in for wellness visits that have been doing fine and are the picture of health, it is often expected to be a very short conversation with the owner because there are no issues for us to address. What I have learned as a veterinarian is that by not taking the opportunity to talk with owners about common illnesses such as renal failure, liver disease or even obesity makes my job harder in the long run. It is significantly more difficult to reverse a disease process that has been going on for a while than it is to sit down to explain to an owner why a baseline of diagnostics or a commitment to routine medical care can give us a clearer picture of health and make my job easier.

Routine Veterinary Tests and Laboratory Services

What sort of laboratory services people have come to expect with their own physicals when they go to the doctor have now become cost more effective and easily accessible in veterinary medicine. Routine chemistry panels and blood counts, urinalysis and thyroid hormone testing have become the standards of care where preventative medicine is concerned. When combined with a thorough physical exam, clients now have the ability to make more informed, correct decisions where diets, supplements, and medications are concerned.

There is a category of illnesses such as immune mediated diseases or some types of cancers where it is not fair to apply the concept of preventative medicine because owners do not really have much control over whether or not their pets will eventually be diagnosed with certain conditions. What remains true is that routine veterinary care and examinations can often catch those illnesses earlier in the disease course and give options that offer the possibility for cures rather than just palliative care.

Our Commitment to Care

At Companion Care Veterinary Clinic, we embrace the challenging parts of veterinary medicine as part of our agreement by being in business. We would much rather take the time to create informed owners and cultivate a healthier population of patients now than we would by pushing those difficult conversations off until a later date when we have fewer options for intervention. We understand that spending money to be given a clean bill of health often feels like a catch twenty-two, and while the value of prevention is really hard to quantify for each individual patient, research has shown that more quality time is available the sooner we can diagnose treatable illnesses.

We hope to be part of all of your pet’s health care needs.

Be Well.

Dr. Jablonski and the CCVC Team

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