Health Care Preventative Plans
Submitted by Lisa A. Yackel, CVPM, PHR
Hospital Administrator at Case Veterinary Hospital
A little over two years ago, I brought my grand dog into our hospital for a routine, preventative physical exam. During the history taking part of the exam, I indicated that there were no problems but, seeing that he was an eight year old dog, I agreed that a full chemistry screen and a prostate exam would be a good idea. Imagine my surprise when the veterinarian felt a tumor in the rectal area and some discrepancies in the lab work! Histopathology after surgery diagnosed anal gland adenocarcinoma.
After surgery and recovery, Ziggy went about life like nothing had changed. We were thrilled with the additional time we had with him and were diligent about six month physical exams. Sadly, Ziggyâ€™s last exam did not reveal good news. His tumor had returned.
I have chosen to see the glass as Â½ full versus Â½ empty. I am so glad the family knows of the cancer and can prepare our young grandson for the inevitable. We all feel blessed that the initial diagnosis was established in early stages and that Ziggyâ€™s life has been prolonged because of it. The whole journey has continued to confirm my strong belief in twice yearly physical exams. Over and over again, I have seen disease uncovered in an asymptomatic patient.
Veterinarians hate giving bad news to clients. We also are very sensitive to our clientâ€™s wallets and try to save them as much as we can by not recommending any procedure that we donâ€™t feel is necessary. That being said, we sometimes sway the wrong way. We can be reluctant to recommend labwork or screening x-rays on pets that appear healthy. We are almost apologetic when we call an owner back with lab work that has come back normal.
CaseCare, our new Preventative Health Care Plans, took all the above into account. We know the benefit of getting baseline lab work and x-rays (on the older pets) is beneficial. Just look at the array of testing we get when we do our own annual physical exam at our human doctor. Twice yearly exams in a dog or cat equate to having exams every 2-3 years for us. Bringing your pet in annually equates to going to the doctor every 7-10 years. Imagine the changes that can occur with us between 30 and 40 years old, between 60 & 70 years old.
So now the challenge is to learn to CELEBRATE normal results. As your partner in your petâ€™s health care, we should be thrilled the results do not show any signs of disease and you, as the owner, should be relieved versus feeling like it might have been a waste of money. CaseCare helps by having all the screenings wrapped into a bundled group that allows monthly payments. Imagine having the peace of mind that your pet is healthy inside and outside all for less than the price of a daily cup of Starbuckâ€™s coffee. And, if the results come back abnormal or disease is found, your veterinarian can be proactive in treatment and, most likely, give you and your pet more time together.