Ensuring senior dogs and cats are happy, healthy, and sufficiently supported throughout their golden years requires an individualized, multi-faceted approach.
This is according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). To help veterinary teams provide their older canine and feline patients with the best possible care, the association has released the 2023 AAHA Senior Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats.
“At the core of these guidelines is the understanding that aging is not a disease, but a process that family members can embrace, love, and enjoy with their senior pets,” says Ravinder Dhaliwal, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology), DABVP (Canine and Feline), chair of the 2023 Senior Care Guidelines task force.
Senior-aged dogs and cats represent 44 per cent of the pet population, AAHA reports. Incorporating specialized care and monitoring at a practice level can help ensure veterinary visits are a positive experience for these pets and their owners.
The AAHA guidelines offer actionable strategies veterinary teams can adopt to create senior-friendly environments aimed at welcoming pets in this age group, including modification of physical environments, prioritizing care to keep families together, and taking different approaches to healthy and unhealthy senior patients.
By prioritizing senior-friendly care and taking a holistic approach to treating these patients, veterinary teams are nurturing the human-animal bond and, ultimately, helping to keep aging pets with their families.
“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,” says AAHA chief medical officer, Jessica Vogelsang, DVM. “This important guide helps teams provide the right medical care, the right environment, and the right family support to be truly senior friendly.”
To access the guidelines, click here.