New Study Illustrates Value Of Health Risk Assessments For Cats

Practicing veterinarian shares insights on managing change

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. August 6, 2014 – A new study of 1,197 apparently healthy cats showed that 26 percent of these cats had laboratory profiles consistent with a range of medical conditions while 68 percent were identified as having at least one lifestyle risk based on their owner’s completion of a health risk assessment (HRA).

The study examined data collected over a 5.5 year period using The Pet Wellness Report® (PWR) to identify these potential risks. The PWR, offered by Zoetis, is the first standardized HRA available in veterinary medicine.

“The Pet Wellness Report is another example of how Zoetis is partnering with veterinarians to support quality healthcare for the benefit of companion animals and the people who love them,” said J. Michael McFarland, DVM, DABVP and group director of Companion Animal Veterinary Operations for Zoetis. “This study demonstrated that a health risk assessment like PWR can help veterinarians identify issues that might otherwise go undiagnosed and untreated until serious symptoms become apparent.”

Feline Study Reveals Health Risks in Hard to Diagnose Population

Bob Lavan, MS, DVM, MPVM, DACVPM, associate director of the Outcomes Research Team at Zoetis presented the data, which were collected from 264 primary care veterinary practices over 5.5 years.1

Dr. Lavan’s analysis underscores the value of regular feline wellness visits, especially when a HRA is incorporated into the annual examination of the animal. Owners of the cats studied were asked to complete the 48 questions in the PWR questionnaire. Results were summarized into five risk categories to facilitate communication: Cancer Profile, Heart Profile, Dental Profile, Nutrition Profile and Safety Profile.

A total of 68 percent of cat owners provided one or more responses that identified an area of lifestyle concern from PWR, giving the veterinarian an opportunity for education and discussion. For example:

  • Nine percent of cat owners indicated that their cat had difficulty breathing; wheezing, sneezing, coughing.1
  • 11 percent thought that their cats had stiffness, lameness or pain associated with movement.1
  • 22 percent thought that their cats were overweight or obese.1
  • 27 percent said their cat had chronic vomiting and/or hairballs. 1
  • One in four cats tested was identified as having laboratory abnormalities that could be indicative of underlying renal disease, hepatic disease, inflammation/infection, hyperthyroidism, and thrombocytopenia or other morbidities.1

“The goal of preventive medicine is to optimize health and minimize disease burden by proactively taking measures to prevent disease,” Dr. Lavan said. “Early detection allows for treatment options that may be less invasive, less expensive, and significantly more effective.”

The study results were presented for the first time at the recent American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Complete study results are available from Zoetis.

Health Risk Assessments: A Positive Change for the Veterinary Profession

Dr. Michael Hargrove from North Shore Veterinary Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota, also supports health risk assessments. He sees programs such as PWR as a way veterinarians can manage change within the practice culture and help respond to some of the challenges facing the profession today.

“Clinics across the country are seeing annual wellness visits decline,” Dr. Hargrove said. “Bringing in a health risk assessment to implement change and show the pet owner the value of regular visits can be a huge step in the right direction.”

Dr. Hargrove suggests veterinarians can effectively develop a practice culture that embraces healthcare delivery changes through new product implementation, enhancing the client service experience, and communicating the value of a Lifelong Care approach for each patient. The PWR is one example of how Dr. Hargrove’s practice is supporting its preventive care visits and encouraging greater engagement with clients.

About The Pet Wellness Report

The Pet Wellness Report (PWR) HRA process is designed to complement the standard physical exam and pet history, to enhance veterinarians’ ability to obtain additional information around potential health risks or disease and facilitate communication with their clients. Results are delivered in an easy-to-understand report that is provided to the pet owner and also the veterinarian with the goal of enhancing pet owner education and encouraging greater engagement in a pet’s overall health. The Pet Wellness Report is part of Zoetis’ Lifelong Care Initiative.  For more information on the PWR and full clinical trial results, veterinarians may contact their Zoetis sales representative, call 1-855-PWR-PETS (797-7387), or visit

About Zoetis

Zoetis (zō-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. In 2013, the company generated annual revenues of $4.6 billion. With approximately 9,800 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2014, Zoetis has a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 28 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries. Its products serve veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals in 120 countries. For more information, visit

Zoetis is the proud sponsor, with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibitions, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, of the mobile educational exhibit Animal Connections: Our Journey Together.  Families visiting the exhibit will explore the vast bonds between people and animals and learn about the important role veterinarians play in protecting animal and human health. 

For further information, Contact:

Edith Benzimra

Julie Lux

1 Data on file. Technical Bulletin: Pet Wellness Report. A Feline Health Risk Assessment—(A review of 1,197 cases) Lavan R, Knesl O, Holzhauer J, Horter D. Zoetis Inc., 2014



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