|Steve Dale, CABC|
The keynote speaker Steve Dale, CABC, columnist, blogger, and fellow pet advocate, gave the keynote address this morning to a packed ballroom and a feverishly excited bunch of pet loving people at the BlogPaws 2013 convention in Tyson's Corner, VA. He was energetic, engaging, and inspiring. How could you ask for more from a speaker, especially at 8 am?
I walked away from his welcome knowing that I was exactly where I always wanted to be, in the middle of an ocean of animal lovers out to make the world better for all pets everywhere.
A big Thank-You from this veterinarian on behalf of all of the rest of us, to you! His lecture focused on pet care, the importance of good routine veterinary care, the gaps in providing that care despite the booming pet industry, and the obligation we pet bloggers have to remaining steadfast and united in our mission to be responsible and committed to pet care.
His lecture was informative and included many of the stats that we vets know because we live it and see it everyday. They included the following dismal facts;
- That veterinarians can do more for pets than ever before, but not if you don't bring them in.
- That half of all cats did not see a vet last year.
- That our pets are getting sicker before being brought in for care, including preventable disease illness.
- That internal parasites up 13%.
- That 24% of pet owners believe that routine check-ups are unnecessary.
- That flea infestations are worsening despite many of the flea and tick preventatives now being available over the counter.
- That vet visits are declining. he pondered why they are declining? Could it be because of the prevalence of internet information? Or because they should be down? Or because the power of the pet community is discouraging them?
- That 64% of dogs leave the vet with out heartworm prevention.
- That only 2% of lost cats are reunted because we don't microchip them.
- Heartworm disease in some states is about 10%.
- If your vet doesn't ask you about heartworm prevention then you should be asking them.
- That 23% of cats were taken into shelters in 2011, more than half all animals in shelters were cats, 48% of adoptions were cats, but based on how many more cats are brought to shelters than dogs the adoption rate for cats is extremely low. 4 out of 10 cats make it out of a shelter, 7 out of ten dogs.
- Only 39% cat owners only bring for vet, and they only bring them if they are sick. But, he queried, how do you know your cat is sick? especially when we know that cats can mask illness so well? Do you have a stethoscope at home?, or a blood machine?
"Cats get no respect," he said. It's true, we all know it, the statistics prove it, and this room has an enormous number of cat lovers who can help improve this.
He reminded me that the vet needs to ask the client about the other pets in the household. So that we don't neglect the cat too.
We vets need to go through the clients file, ask our clients, and help our clients understand that all of the pets need our services and assistance.
We all need to encourage more microchipping, especially in cats.
He remarked that "food has become a religion and that this "creates division."
That the widespread speculation that the FDA is not in bed with the pet food companies..but that people feel so passionately they will use any argument they can to promote their view.
He, like all of the veterinary nutritionists, discourages feeding raw food to pets.
He also reminded us that obesity is an epidemic where 52.5% of dogs and 58.3% of cats, which is about the same as Americans. He reminded us that what we feed our pets is as important as and what we feed ourselves.
He said "we are a group of people who love pets, that is what motivates us, that is what unites us, and to be divided" only diminishes our purpose, obligation, and assistance to our pets.
I hope that we all remember why we are here, sharing our experiences, stories, passions, and efforts. We are such a strong voice, made stronger by our numbers, stronger by our publications that allow the whole world to see. It is an incredible gift, and obligation, and our calling.
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