Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
The American Animal Hospital Association released its 2023 Senior Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats to help veterinary teams provide appropriate care for their older patients.
“Every veterinary team member has a story of a sweet senior who made an impact on their heart and motivates them to be a senior pet champion,” said Jessica Vogelsang, DVM, AAHA’s chief medical officer. “This important guideline helps teams provide the right medical care, the right environment and the right family support to be truly senior friendly.”
The guidelines were prepared by a task force of experts and supported by Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, CareCredit, Idexx and Zoetis.
The document also addresses:
- How to communicate more effectively with the owners of senior pets.
- How telehealth technologies can enhance senior pet care.
- How to treat healthy and unhealthy older pets.
- How to approach end-of-life care and euthanasia.
Advances in veterinary medicine help pets live longer, and senior pets currently represent 44% of the U.S. pet population, according to AAHA.
“At the core of these guidelines is the understanding that aging is not a disease, but that family members can embrace, love and enjoy their senior pets,” said Ravinder Dhaliwal, DVM, MS, ACVIM (oncology), DABVP, who chaired the 2023 Senior Care Guidelines task force.
Each pet is unique and requires a customized treatment plan, but the guidelines can help veterinary teams provide optimal care.
“A focus on senior pet care has many benefits for veterinary practices and their clients,” according to the guidelines. “These include strengthening the human-animal bond, enhancing and extending the patient’s quality and duration of life, and deepening the veterinary/client/patient relationship.”
The guidelines may be downloaded at bit.ly/3x0kOgF.