Bayer HealthCare LLC Animal Health Division is partnering with the American Association of Feline Practitioners with the goal of improving healthcare for America's cats.
The partnership, which will work to uncover and remove the obstacles to routine veterinary care for cats, was announced at the veterinary group’s 2012 medical conference in Seattle.
The impetus for the partnership was the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study, according to Ian Spinks, president and general manager, Bayer HealthCare LLC's Animal Health Division, North America. Among Bayer HealthCare's strong portfolio of products are parasite solutions for cats and dogs.
The Bayer HealthCare study found that one-third of cats owned by respondents had not seen a veterinarian during the previous year, despite the fact that 95% of surveyed veterinarians cited the need for cats and dogs to have at least one well-visit, or physical examination, annually.
Like dogs, cats require regular veterinary healthcare and, without it, there is a significant risk to their health, said Donna Stephens Manley, DVM, president of AAFP and principal veterinarian at Manley Veterinary Services in Chapel Hill, N.C.
"Through the combined efforts of AAFP and Bayer HealthCare, we want to improve the healthcare provided to cats and overcome the barriers that veterinarians have encountered regarding routine visits for cats,” she said. “If cats are seen more regularly, better care can be provided, especially relating to preventative care."
The study also found the decrease in cat visits to veterinarians was in part attributable to "feline resistance," a catch-all term defining the hiding, aggression, vocalization, and stressed/fearful behavior cats exhibit when put in the carrier and transported to unfamiliar surroundings.
Unwilling to do battle with their pets, cat owners become more comfortable with longer time between exams. This can be especially harmful for older cats, which are more prone to diabetes, kidney failure and cancer than dogs.