Healthy pet clubs – and there are a number of different versions – are a group of plans whose aim is to keep pets as healthy as possible for as long as possible. As vets, we firmly believe that prevention is better than cure and work hard to educate owners regarding relevant diseases, key signs to look out for with regards to health deterioration and when it is best to visit their local vets.
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The healthy pet club (also named Pet Health Plan, Pet Health Club or similar) includes preventative health care elements to keep pets happy and healthy throughout the year. The aim is to help spread the cost of routine veterinary bills throughout the year; meaning you are less likely to be shocked by intermittent large bills, making caring for your pet more affordable. This deal makes it much easier to budget throughout the year. The club usually works on a monthly subscription basis and is separate from most veterinary bills and pet insurance. The price depends on the species and size of your pet.
What does the subscription include?
Depending on the species and age of your pet, the offer may vary. Also, different practices use different versions of the health pet club idea, offering different perks and discounts, or even escalating levels of cover. But, in general, the plans mainly cover core vaccinations (and usually include Kennel Cough for dogs), parasite prevention, health checks, microchipping, and quite often there will also be discounts on practice procedures or purchases.
Every vaccination appointment will include a clinical examination from a veterinary professional, as a health check to ensure they are fit for the vaccination and to pick up any signs of illness. If your pet doesn’t have one already, Microchipping will be performed. This is a legal requirement for dogs, and we strongly recommend it for cats and rabbits too.
In most schemes, your pet will also receive a 6 monthly health check performed by a veterinary nurse
These 6 month health checks are a brilliant opportunity to bring your pet into the veterinary practice when they are feeling well in themselves helping to prevent any adverse reactions and feelings towards the practice. This is extremely important with pets as it is difficult to assess pain in an anxious or aggressive pet, behaviour which may be displayed in pets who are nervous of the vets.
6-monthly health checks allow monitoring of the progression of gradual diseases, such as dental disease. Dental disease is extremely common in pets. We need to do as much as we can with diet, chew toys and supplements to maintain a healthy oral cavity. If your veterinary professional believes your pet’s dental disease is too severe, they will recommend a dental procedure. This includes a general anaesthetic allowing your veterinary team to gain a full view of your pet’s teeth. They can thoroughly assess the health of the tooth, root and gums. This allows decisions related to extractions to be made. Sometimes this is the best option to prevent pain or another surgical dental procedure in quick succession. Within the plans, you will usually be entitled to a discount or a fixed fee dental procedure.
Nurse-led services, such as Nail clipping, are usually included in health plans; helping you keep on top of regular pet care.
Additionally, there may be discounts on purchases
In particular, most schemes offer discounted blood testing for pets who are well. Blood testing is essential in diagnosing early kidney and liver disease amongst many other diseases. It also provides the veterinary professionals a good opportunity to identify disease prior to the onset of clinical signs.
Other veterinary bills will often have a discount (usually around 10%). And any products bought from the vets may have a similar reduction. Some lifetime medication may even gain 20% deduction!
In addition to all of these fantastic benefits, most plans offer a discount on neutering. Neutering is something we commonly recommend in pets that will not be used for breeding. That said, there is an optimum time to neuter your pet. This is based on their species, age and breed. Please discuss the optimum time for your pet to be neutered with your veterinary professional as other traits such as congenital changes, other pets within the home and behavioural traits may influence when is best.
Parasite treatment is included in all of the plans
These treatments prevent or treat the most common parasites which may affect your pet both internally and externally. Fleas, ticks, worms, mites and lice are covered by most health club plans, keeping your pet comfortable, healthy and protected from other infections these parasites can introduce.
Who can join Healthy Pet Clubs?
Healthy Pet Clubs will usually have plans for owners of cats, dogs, rabbits, puppies and kittens. You can choose your subscription based on the type and age of pet you own. If you have multiple pets on the plan, you may be able to receive a discount. Your veterinary practice needs to use a version of the health plan, which may be their own arrangement or run by an external company. The original Healthy Pet Club scheme is run by CVS (UK) Limited, so is used by veterinary practices also owned and operated by the group CVS, but other clubs and plans are available, and most vet practices use one. If you are keen to join a pet health plan, enquire with your local vet practice, or check out their website where they should have details of the plan they use, what’s included and how to join!