Milan was the setting for an annual event that has become a highlight of the Italian veterinary calendar. The Season of Prevention campaign (SOP) which, this year, focused on pet mobility problems – common conditions that blight the lives of thousands of dogs and cats.

Milan was the setting for an annual event that has become a highlight of the Italian veterinary calendar. The Season of Prevention campaign (SOP) which, this year, focused on pet mobility problems – common conditions that blight the lives of thousands of dogs and cats.
 
(L-R) Carlo Scotti, Marina Debernardi, Federico Coccia, Francesca Martini, Massimo Petazzoni and Romano Marabelli (agility team member)The annual event was developed by Hill’s Pet Nutrition Italy in association with the national veterinary association, L’Associazione Nazionale Medici Veterinari Italiani (AMNVI) and attracts phenomenal interest. In 2009 it resulted in 14,000 pet owners visiting veterinary practices.
 
Key to the event is the participation of 3,200 vets who offer relevant free health checks for dogs and cats for one month – this year in March. With only 25% of Italian pet owners regularly taking their pet to a vet there is a need to focus on raising awareness of the benefits of good veterinary care and this campaign aims to achieve that.
 
Speakers at the event included Paola Badiale (vet affairs manager for Hill’s Pet Nutrition), sports journalist Carlo Annese, Marina Debernardi (general manager of Hill’s Italy), Carlo Scotti (senior president of the ANMVI), Francesca Martini (health minister for veterinary matters) and vet Massimo Petazzoni, who is chair of the Pet Obesity Task Force (POTF).
 
Paola Badiale, vet affairs manager for Hill's Pet NutritionThe charismatic Ms Martini was said to be “particularly unequivocal in her support”, highlighting the need to prevent and raise awareness of all the issues around pet mobility impairment.
 
The talks were reinforced by a display by one of Italy’s top canine agility teams, which is made up of dogs of all ages and sizes that have been treated for mobility problems with Hill’s j/d.
 
A Hill’s statement claimed: “Although it is well established that Britain is a nation of animal lovers, the Italians have fully embraced this particular pet care campaign. This is reflected in the media coverage of the event, with national newspaper Corriere featuring the story and [more than] 100 other articles in press, ensuring that the message is heard by millions of people across the country.
 
“While the Uk has a more mature market in veterinary terms, this well orchestrated campaign shows the positive way the media can engage with the veterinary profession in the right context. With thousands more dogs and cats receiving the treatment they need, that is to be congratulated.”

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