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New pet plans promote preventive care with monthly payments

Program provides financial incentives for pet owners to regularly visit their veterinarian

RU Gainesville_2464 - CopyIn concert with several national initiatives stressing the importance of disease prevention in pet health, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is now offering comprehensive wellness plans that provide financial incentives for pet owners to regularly visit their veterinarians.

Available through the UF Small Animal Hospital’s primary care and dentistry service, the basic plans include all necessary preventive health care services for one year, with the cost divided into 12 monthly payments.

“The wellness plan package of services saves money on the regular health care you were already planning to give your pet,” said Dana Zimmel, D.V.M., chief of staff of UF Veterinary Hospitals. “Although the amount of money the pet owner saves depends on the plan they choose, the average savings amount to several hundred dollars a year.”

The program is aimed at all pet owners who plan to visit the veterinarian two or more times a year and want to prevent chronic health issues, including allergies, itchy or irritated skin, ear infections and other problems, from occurring.

The plans are customized to age, with puppies and kittens requiring different care than adult or senior dogs and cats. Additional primary care exams – if more than two a year are needed – are available for $10, and multi-pet discounts are available.

Plan participants also have a reduced fee for after-hours emergency examinations at both the Gainesville and Ocala locations, although other charges still apply. In addition, participants receive a discounted exam fee if they need to see a specialist.

For several years, key national veterinary groups, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges have recognized that many dogs and cats do not receive the regular preventive check-ups they need to stay healthy. These groups have partnered to enhance awareness of the importance of preventive health care to improve overall pet health through regular veterinary visits.

As a first step in this partnership, guidelines for feline and canine preventive care were produced and made available to veterinarians in an effort to standardize and improve preventive care efforts and overall pet health.

The primary care and dentistry service at UF’s Small Animal Hospital has been making use of these guidelines for two years, and the wellness plan packages will supplement these existing efforts.

“We are pleased at the initiative shown by UF and other veterinary colleges to advance the profession and promote preventive care for our pets,” said Ron DeHaven, D.V.M., executive vice president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

For more information about the UF wellness plan program, call 352-392-2235 or visit the website here.