Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine

Preventative healthcare consultations involving dogs and cats

Preventative healthcare consultations account for over a third of consultations conducted in primary-care small-animal practice. Previous research within the CEVM has found these consultations to be highly complex, within multiple different health problems discussed, many decisions made and a range of actions taken. As a result, these consultations have many potential benefits to the health and welfare of veterinary patients.

The aim of this study was to find out what veterinarians do during these consultations, and understand more about veterinarians’ and pet owners’ experiences and expectations of these consultations. The outcome of the project was to produce evidence-based guidance to optimise preventative healthcare consultations.


For the purposes of this study, a preventative healthcare consultation is defined as any consultation involving a dog or cat where the main reason for presentation is:

  • Vaccination
  • Parasite prevention
  • Prevention of season (estrus)
  • Any other routine health check, for example routine new animal or puppy/kitten checks

The study involved:

  • A systematic review of the literature to identify existing evidence describing preventative healthcare consultations, as well as methods of measuring the ‘success’ of these consultations
  • A global survey of veterinarians to establish what veterinarians currently do during these consultations, and gather opinions on strategies for maximising the benefits of these consultations
  • In-depth interviews with veterinarians and pet owners to explore their experiences and expectations of preventative healthcare consultations.  A publication from this work can be found here
  • A consensus panel consisting of veterinarians and pet owners with recent experience of preventative healthcare consultations helped to convert the results of the study into practical guidance

This study was funded by MSD Animal Health, the Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine and The University of Nottingham.


Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine

School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus
Leicestershire, LE12 5RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 951 6576
Fax: +44 (0) 115 951 6415
Email: CEVM@nottingham.ac.uk