Older pets' health is in your hands

Older pets' health is in your hands

Without every team member reinforcing the message, clients won't see the need for senior wellness care. Own your program and improve the lives of elderly pets by doing your part.
Jul 01, 2009
By dvm360.com staff


When clients with senior pets call to make an appointment, ask them to withhold food from their pets for four to six hours before the visit in case the doctor wants to run lab tests. Then remind them that when they come in, they should keep their pets from watering the bushes so they'll be ready for a urinalysis. Tell owners of seniors and seniors-to-be that their pets have entered a new life stage and you'll schedule their appointments to last five to 10 minutes longer than usual to allow time for the doctor to go over the pets’ changing needs. Also keep clients committed to senior care by following up to make sure they're complying with recommended at-home care.

Technicians and assistants

A thorough history is the starting point of any wellness program, especially one for seniors. Observant owners can detect subtle changes in their pets’ activity levels, elimination patterns, or behavior. So be sure to listen for comments like, “She’s always thirsty,” which might indicate diabetes. Also continually quiz yourself on common senior conditions and which tests you'd run to detect them. The better you understand the diagnostics, the better you'll be able to explain them to clients.


Design a marketing strategy for your senior program. Use newsletters, reminders, and invoices to educate your clients—and team members—on age-related problems. Then keep team members up to date on senior protocols and trends with CE seminars. One idea: Find the team member with the best compliance rates for senior screens and ask him or her to share tips with the rest of the team.


Delegating the completion of lab tests to qualified technicians gives veterinarians more time for diagnosing and treating. But doctors shouldn't completely pass on the responsibility of client education. When veterinarians and team members explain the importance of senior care to clients, the chances of compliance increase.