The notion that dogs are man’s best friend is true in more ways than one. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, dogs get better veterinary care than our other pets.
Here’s a breakdown of the trend in pet care from 2006 to 2011:
- Vet visits for dogs increased by 9.2 percent.
- The number of cats visiting their vets decreased by 4.4 percent.
- Cats are really getting the short end of the stick, with slightly more than 55 percent of their owners scheduling a minimum of one annual visit.
The declines get worse from there:
- The number of bird owners making at least one visit to the vet declined by 10.8 percent.
- Horse owners with at least one visit to the veterinarian declined by 12 percent.
“While it’s great that we’re seeing increases in veterinary care for dogs, it’s very concerning that veterinary care for virtually every other type of pet is seeing substantial declines,” says Dr. Douglas Aspros, president of the AVMA. “This trend is worrisome, not only in terms of the pet’s health but in terms of public health, because some diseases, such as intestinal parasites, can be transmitted from pets to family members.”
Dr. Aspros recommends pet owners schedule at least one vet visit a year for optimal health.
The AVMA survey included over 50,000 households. While there are a significantly higher number of dog owners than cat owners in the U.S. (36.5% compared to 30.4%), there are many more cats in our homes than dogs (43,346,000 and 36,117,000 respectively).
What this seems to say is that some cat owners are enticed by the reputation of cats as low-maintenance pets. Unfortunately, they mistake that to mean they don’t have to go to the vet regularly either.