No Fair! Dogs Get Better Vet Care Than Cats

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.


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Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Pierre D.
Pierre D.4 years ago

Well, actually it is far. It's all a question of demand and willingness to spend (which for dogs is substantially higher: Elementary economics.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you Jason, for Sharing this!

Sue T.
Susan T4 years ago

Many clinics do not have "cat friendly" areas and cats are so much more susceptible to stress than dogs! most cats don't go for daily walks, ride in cars and get exposed to much outside their own palace!

Cats are not small dogs and as a vet tech there are many vets and techs who should not work with cats.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Chris C.
Chris C4 years ago

I think it depends. Perhaps cats are healthier and more low-mtce than dogs and don't need as many visits? Also, dogs LOVE to ride in the car...the cats I've had...not so much!
Barb H thinks cats at the vet are a nitemare - I disagree. I had one cat (among my 11) that I left in the car until he was ready for appt...all the rest of the 10 always sat quietly in their carriers. My current kitty is not a vet clinic fan but she is just fine, nonetheless. Her vet has 3 of his own cats along with dogs etc. The young vet techs are obvious animal lovers, too. They also foster cats there. I think alot depends on the vet. My whole family takes their cats & dogs to this vet and we all love him dearly. He is also MUCH better priced!
In this economy, perhaps people figure "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Katya J.
Katya J4 years ago

Thank you for sharing!

Terry V.
Terry V4 years ago

not at my house

B Jackson
BJ J5 years ago

Am lucky to live in area with vets who make house/ranch calls. Most cats aren't happy travelers especially when destination is that "awful smelling" vet office.

Carol F.
Carol F5 years ago

This is sad, and I do love dogs, however, from past experience, I believe this to be true. :-(