As of March 11, 2024, this course is no longer open for enrollment

As of March 11, 2024, this course is no longer open for enrollment


Course Overview

The value of preventive care and early intervention in human and dental medicine has been well established and acknowledged by the general public. The veterinary profession has not been as effective in communicating this benefit to pet owners, which has contributed to a decade-long trend toward declining numbers of pet owner visits to veterinarians. Remarkably, these declining trends have occurred despite substantial growth in the pet dog and cat population in the United States, by over 36% in the 10 year period ending in 2006.

Recent market research has identified several reasons for the decrease in the use of veterinary services. These include proliferation of self-help pet care by owners who search for pet health information on the Internet instead of relying on a veterinarian, the difficulties associated with transporting cats to the veterinary clinic and resistance to examination or treatment. Most importantly, current data indicate that inadequate understanding by pet owners of the need for routine examination of their pets is a key client-driven factor for the declining of veterinary services. By providing a blueprint for preventive healthcare, the new Canine and Feline Preventive Healthcare Guidelines emphasize the importance of communicating future healthcare recommendations and setting client expectations for follow-up visits.

The AAHA-AVMA Preventive Healthcare Guidelines for Dogs and Cats were developed and produced by AAHA and the AVMA, and were funded by an educational support grant from the Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare. The Implementing the AAHA-AVMA Preventive Healthcare Guidelines for Dogs and Cats course was built through a collaborative effort between VetMedTeam, AAHA, the AVMA and the Partnership.

This free course is designed to help practices, and practice team members, become acquainted with the components of the guidelines and to help facilitate implementation. Every practice strives to provide the best care for their patients. Through this course, practice team members will understand how implementation of these guidelines can help to increase the level of preventive care provided to patients, leading to a stronger practice and improved delivery of quality veterinary medicine.


Continuing Education Credits

Course meets the requirements for 1 RACE hours of continuing education credit for veterinary technicians and veterinarians in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB's RACE approval. However, participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery.

RACE Subject Category: Medical; Delivery Method: Non-interactive Distance; Program Number 750057.


Content Author

Michael Paul, DVM


Course Focus and Learning Objectives

This course is appropriate for all members of the veterinary practice team.

After completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Restate the importance of the preventive healthcare guidelines
  • Utilize the guidelines as templates to develop individualized pet healthcare plans
  • Outline the components of a thorough senior cat physical examination and the right questions to ask owners
  • Define the meaning of SOAP
  • Differentiate between the significance of each SOAP segment and label components of the medical visit accordingly
  • Facilitate the consistency of medical recordkeeping by employing the SOAP methodology
  • Relate the importance of documentation
  • Demonstrate a more in-depth understanding of the medical considerations and elements of the recommendations contained within the Guidelines


Participation Access Parameters

VetMedTeam courses are asynchronous - they do not contain real time components. Participants log in at times convenient to personal schedules.

Participants do not need to complete the course in one sitting. However, participants who do not access the course for 30 consecutive days will be processed as incomplete. Any activity within the course will reset to the full 30 days time allotment.

Participants who are unable to complete a course may re-enroll at their convenience.


Course Completion Requirements

  • Examination: Students must pass the examination with a score of 80% or better

  • Course Survey: Students must submit the course survey

Completed students will have access to their documenting certificate online once both requirements are met.

Students who do not access the course for 30 consecutive days will be processed as incomplete. However, students may re-enroll at any time.


Participant Feedback

...This course was a great refresher for me. I have seen differentiation between practices in what they consider 'core' vaccines in dogs and cats, so this was particularly helpful in that area. The brush-up on heartworm disease in felines was very helpful, too..

...I enjoyed the up-to-date information regarding vaccinations and behavioral issues that may occur in older pets.

...I thought this was very accurate and informational. I work at an AHAA hospital and this helped me understand more of the guidelines that we follow and why we follow them.

...I loved this course. I work in an emergency practice, so we don't actively participate in preventative medicine, though we do make recommendations to our clients regarding preventative care. We definitely adhere to the guidelines outlined in this course.

...I liked that it gave links to other websites to explore topics more in depth.

...It points out the importance for a detailed medical history and thorough physical exam but I have seen both of these aspects done casually and not thorough by multiple vets over my years in the field. It is too often done too quickly.

...the assessment of pain management for dog and cat exams and the discussion of behavior for each exam.

...Excellent information. We are an AAHA accredited hospital so we follow most of the ideas discussed here, but there is always room for improvement so it was a great refresher.

...The pdf references are and will be helpful for me in the clinic.

...breaking down the SOAP method very clearly, how it can help in the clinic and that is was broken down for canine AND feline.

...I feel it will be beneficial to new staff for our hospital to explain and break down generally why we do things the way we do and ask the questions we ask.

...Core and non core vaccines for felines. Also, didn't know that and infection of a few adult worms can cause severe disease and unexpected death in cats.

...very informative, taught me how to get my clients on board for annual examinations and how to explain the importance of annual exams to them.

...General guidelines were species-specific but encouragement was given to investigate further treatment according to breed.

...I liked that it covered preventative medicine. Schools spend little time talking about client interactions, what's important to discuss in an annual checkup, and how to efficiently present this information to clients.. It's shocking to me that schools put this on the back burner, because we are repeatedly told preventative medicine is the best treatment. So why are we not putting emphasis training our future technicians to be efficient in client education for annual checkups for healthy pets? If we want clients to understand the importance than technicians should certainly understand the importance like the back of their hand. I am fortunate that I have other resources like this CE readily available to me, but other students may not.

...I am a program instructor for a veterinary technology program and I have assigned these courses to my students as a learning tool to supplement their regular course work. I find them very helpful.

...The most benificial for me was the physical state of animals based on their environements, understand behavioral changes and how to talk to pet owners on how to care for their pet and personal information through suddle questions to attain the information needed to understand the pet at a more personal level.


Upcoming Sessions



Price: FREE

Students who do not access the course for 30 consecutive days will be processed as incomplete. However, students may re-enroll at any time.