Senior Pet Clinic Top Tips

We recently spoke to award winning RVN Kirsty Cavill about how clinics can best approach their Senior Pet care offering.
Here she shares not only her top tips for practices but also for owners too which practices can use with their clients.

Old age is not a disease!

Kirsty Cavill and her dog

Senior does not equate to ‘over the hill’ and domestic animals are living longer, developing more complex needs, and therefore requiring more comprehensive treatments plans and therapeutic interventions. To achieve the most effective long-term care for patients, we must engage with owners at the first point of contact, when puppies and kittens are presented for primary health checks. This affords us the opportunity to advise on the importance of appropriate lifestyle, exercise, and weight management throughout the pet’s life.

By encouraging regular attendance at senior pet clinics, we can more readily identify developing conditions and intervene in a timely manner, resulting in an overall, higher standard of patient care.
Instilling a positive and cohesive culture within the practice, with on-going education and training, led by senior pet ambassadors, and aimed at raising the spotlight on senior pet care, will enable the development of a practice specific, ‘toolbox’ of management plans and treatment options.

Nurses, alongside front of house staff are the driving force behind promotional events and campaigns within practice, so we need to generate interest in the multifactorial benefits associated with employing a proactive approach to senior pet care. By investing in on-going education and training and by developing an effective strategy to convey the value of senior pets to the practice business model, we will help to encourage a shift in culture towards a proactive approach.

Kirsty’s Top Tips for Veterinary Practices:

  • Adopt a whole practice proactive approach to the management of senior pets.
  • Assign senior pet ambassadors – named Vet/Nurse teams.
  • Engage with your client base and wider community to promote senior pet health.
  • Invest in a whole practice training and awareness campaign.
  • Compile a ‘Toolbox’ of treatment options available.
  • Utilise product information sheets to improve understanding, engagement, and owner willingness to follow a prescribed treatment.
  • Timely ‘check ins’ with owners between appointments to improve communication, trust and to check on owner compliance.
  • Utilise the skillset within your practice and invest in on going education and training.
  • Regular case reviews
  • Develop a multimodal treatment plan, referring to paraprofessionals – therapists and specialists – in a timely manner.

  • Kirsty’s Top Tips for you to use with your Owners:

  • Be proactive and let your vet team know if you notice any changes in your pet’s daily routine, exercise tolerance or behaviour.
  • Quality of exercise over quantity!
  • Regular health checks are essential for senior pets.
  • Keep a daily diary (including a video diary) to help identify measurable changes over time.
  • Cover slippery floors with non-slip mats to help your pet safely navigate around their home environment.
  • Ask your vet team what they can do to support your pet through their senior years.
  • Physical therapies can form an important part of your senior pet’s treatment plan – Find out what is available in your area.
  • Enrichment activities play an important part of a senior pet’s daily lifestyle.
  • Weight management, diet and nutrition are important! Ask your veterinary nurse for advice.
  • Restrict unsupervised access to stairs and use a ramp to help your dog access the car. Cats will benefit from steps or a slope up to their favourite vantage points.

  • Make Senior Easier

    Animalcare has launched a campaign to ‘Make Senior Easier’ in a bid to improve the quality of life of older pets. The company has developed a suite of resources to help practices enhance the level of care they provide to animals as they age and to educate owners as to steps they can take to maintain their companion’s wellbeing and welfare during their ‘golden years.’

    Sign-up for your FREE support kit here