Twice-yearly veterinarian checkups?

A couple of weeks ago, I took four of our five cats to the veterinarian for their annual checkups. While we were there, the attending veterinarian mentioned that they’re encouraging pet owners to move to a twice-yearly checkup schedule, the rationale being that a year is a long time in the lifespan of a cat (or dog), and a great deal can happen, health-wise, in that one year.

Has anyone else encountered this? Part of me understands the logic behind the suggestion, but the nasty and suspcious part of me wonders if this isn’t just a way to double the traffic in a veterinary clinic, and thus increase the income.

I perhaps should add that we just moved back to the Indianapolis area after living for nearly 6 years in Seattle. The veterinary clinic we used in Seattle never suggested this. The veterinary clinic we’re using in Indianapolis is the one we used quite happily for years and years before our relocation to Seattle.

My vet suggests it in particular for cats 9 and older: an “elder cat workup” so that there is a baseline for diagnosing possible age-related issues. I’ve heard of other vets recommending it around here (Boston) too. And if it’s a cat with other health issues, she suggests it for those younger than 9. Perhaps a cat with degenerating teeth, or one who is prone to chlamydia or UTI. It’s good to catch those things early.

Actually I think cats who go outside should have checkups at least twice a year, if not more. There is a lot more things they can catch outside and it might be something that isn’t noticed if you wait a year. All outdoor cats should be checked for intestinal parasites several times a year IMO.

Sounds like a cash-grab to me. Feed your pets good quality food, make sure they get lots of exercise, and do your own once-overs on them now and then. Check all over for odd lumps, look in eyes/ears, etc and watch for weirdness. Healthy animals don’t need to go to the vet every 6 months! :smack:

I’d change vets.

I agree with **Polymer **- reminds me of the “Rinse / Repeat” instructions on the shampoo label.

Another vote for Polymer’s answer. On our last visit, the vet said that since our cats were strictly indoor cats and quite healthy, a visit once every two years might be appropriate–except for our oldest, who was 8, and who thus should be seen more often, due to his age (as missbunny pointed out).

Of course, we keep an eye on them ourselves, for such things as weird lumps, funny-looking eyes, odd behaviours (off their food, for example), and whatnot. If anything that we think needs veterinary attention does arise, we’re on top of it. But twice a year for just a regular checkup seems excessive.

It kind of seemed excessive to me too, at least for the younger (4 years old) pair. The older ones (brother-sister pair who just passed 12 years) maybe, but not the younger pair. All of our cats are strictly indoor cats, so I’m not too worried about them contracting something from the outside world.

And we also have the ‘wellness’ blood screening done on ours, so that’s covered.

Twice yearly visits has been pushed heavily as a practice management ($) deal. I think as a health issue, this varies with age. Neonate animals, like humans, are in need of care fairly frequently for things like vaccines. Then, from about one year of age until things start falling apart (age 8 or so) once a year makes sense. Older animals I advise twice a year or more depending on the animals’ health.

There is also a purely economic way of looking at it. I have wealthy clients who feel better about coming in monthly. That’s fine with me and sometimes I find some interesting stuff going on. Other people I see with a puppy, then I see them again when the animal is a complete mess at five years of age.

Some folks take an approach where they expect the clients to ignore their suggestions to an extent. Recommend once a year check-ups and you, as the vet, might see the pet once every couple of years. Recommend twice a year check-ups and you might see them closer to once a year. Like that.

It’s not my philosophy, but I wouldn’t use it as a reason to drop the vet outright.

For older cats, it might be a good idea. Otherwise, it is overcautious, but hardly and evil suggestion.