February 15, 2005


 AAHA to release guidelines on senior and dental care

Posted Feb. 1, 2005

The American Animal Hospital Association has developed the AAHA Senior Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats and is in the process of developing guidelines on dental care. The guidelines will provide frameworks for practitioners dedicated to enhancing the well-being of pets.

The senior care guidelines will be available in March. They promote early detection of disease, and outline common clinical conditions and aspects of screening, diagnosis, treatment, anesthesia, pain management, and surgery that are particular to senior pets. They also provide a framework to help practice teams evaluate an aging pet's quality of life and assist clients with the end of life decision-making process.

"Most pets are considered senior by seven or eight years of age, but only about 14 percent of senior pets undergo regular health screening as recommended by their veterinarians," says Dr. Dennis Feinberg, AAHA president. "These guidelines were developed as a resource to help veterinary practice teams provide optimal care for aging pets."

Seven expert veterinarians, representing a broad range of specialty fields, developed the guidelines, which were sponsored by an educational grant from IDEXX Laboratories. AAHA's board of directors approved the guidelines at its October meeting, and they will be published in the March/April 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association and a spring issue of the magazine Trends. They will also be posted on the AAHA Web site, www.aahanet.org, in March.

The AAHA has also formed a six-person task force to develop dental care guidelines for dogs and cats. Oral diseases, if left untreated, are often painful and can lead to more serious disease. The dental guidelines, anticipated to be available in late summer, are sponsored by an educational grant from Merial Limited.