Study reveals that veterinary attention is not sought for over 50 percent of issues - Veterinary Practice
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Study reveals that veterinary attention is not sought for over 50 percent of issues

Royal Canin has reviewed new data from a new University of Bristol study as part of Royal Canin’s Take Your Cat To The Vet campaign

For International Cat Day, celebrated on 8 August, Royal Canin is reviewed brand new data from a study carried out by the University of Bristol in partnership with Waltham Petcare Science Institute (learn more on the website).

The research is the first of its kind in the UK and is part of Royal Canin’s Take Your Cat To The Vet campaign, aiming to create and share knowledge with owners on the need to take their cats to the vet for them to live a healthy and happy life.

The study collected over 14,000 individual surveys, the largest ever cat cohort study in the UK with real-life data by entering cats’ homes and sourcing data directly from the owner, rather than strictly focusing on the veterinarian’s clinical data.

It allowed the study to showcase what veterinarians see and, most importantly, what they do not get to see.

Veterinary attention is not sought for over 50 percent of issues

Cats are masters of disguise and show pain differently than humans or even dogs, thus highlighting the importance of regular health monitoring.  Veterinary attention is not sought for over 50 percent of the issues, in part because owners perceived the issues as mild or recurring conditions and did not feel they were serious enough to require veterinary attention.

Among the most common issues not leading to a vet check-up are appetite change, increased thirst, vomiting or diarrhea and while some of these may be the result of a mild self-limiting condition, they may indicate a more serious disease. For example, increased thirst is a common clinical sign of diseases such as feline hyperthyroidism, which can prove life-threatening if undetected.

These numbers show the importance of sharing knowledge with pet owners on the importance of seeking a veterinarian’s attention regularly for issues that might be overlooked due to the secretive nature of cats.

Three-quarters of cats required oral health monitoring at least once before turning nine

Growing cats see their oral health decline over time, but only 6.7 percent of the respondents’ cats under nine years old are undergoing dental work.

Standing from the veterinarians’ point of view, particular attention should be provided to cats’ oral health monitoring because disease prevalence and severity increase with age.

A regular veterinary examination can help to identify potential oral health issues at an early stage.

Building adapted clinics

Although finances might be deterring pet owners from making routine visits to their veterinary practice, the experience itself may also be a barrier to regular visits. Among the reasons evoked by pet owners for not going to the vet, around 25 percent think it is a stressful event(SKY Agency, 2018) . On the other hand, two-thirds said they would go more often if it were easier.

Based on these findings, Royal Canin is working hand-in-hand with clinics to help them adopt cat-friendly practices, which reduces stress for everyone involved in a vet consultation: cats, owners, and veterinarians.

This includes, for instance, creating dedicated spaces in waiting rooms for cats, training employees on how to handle anxious cats, and equipping vet offices with elevated structures for cat carriers since cats feel safer in high places.

In addition, educational content and clinic certification programs developed by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) – that echo the Take Your Cat To The Vet campaign – offer great support to cat professionals, as they upskill veterinarians and technicians worldwide through certifications programs that prepare clinical staff to welcome feline patients.

Dr Tanya Schoeman, veterinary specialist physician and Royal Canin feline health specialist, reinforces that “there can be various reasons why some cat owners do not take their cats to the vet regularly or at all. Some owners may believe that their cats are healthy and don’t require medical attention unless they show visible signs of illness. This can be difficult to recognize in cats, as

“these animals are masters of disguise and often manage to hide their symptoms of underlying disease.

“Cat owners are often reluctant to take their cats to the vet – clients often state the difficulty of getting the cat into a carrier at home, driving to the clinic and dealing with the stressed and fearful cat at the veterinary clinic as reasons for fewer visits.

“That’s why educating and preparing the client and the veterinary team about respectful feline handling is necessary to avoid stress and accomplish the goal of good health care.

“It is essential to emphasize the importance of regular veterinary check-ups and preventive care for cats. Regular visits can help detect health issues early, ensure vaccinations are up-to-date, and provide proper guidance on diet and overall well-being”.

Olivier Reymond, vice-president of corporate affairs and vet business at Royal Canin, said: “Through this 9th edition of Take Your Cat To The Vet campaign, Royal Canin is reaffirming once again its commitment to reconcile cats and veterinary clinics.

“It is more important than ever to keep fostering the collaboration between the owners and the vets to improve cats’ welfare and minimize health risks.

“It is our role as professionals and for cats’ sake to collaborate and to educate people on health conditions and how to deal with them, within a common purpose: A better world for pets”.

For more information and tips on stress-free vet visits for cat owners and cats or to learn more about Royal Canin, please visit their website. You can also join the conversation on social media by using #TakeYourCatToTheVet, #Cat2Vet, #Kitten2Vet, and #TakeYourKittenToTheVet. 

Have you heard about our
IVP Membership?

A wide range of veterinary CPD and resources by leading veterinary professionals.

Stress-free CPD tracking and certification, you’ll wonder how you coped without it.

Discover more