Conclusion

This document is intended as a guideline only. Evidence-based support for specific recommendations has been cited whenever possible and appropriate. Other recommendations are based on practical clinical experience and a consensus of expert opinion. There is a need for further research to document some of these recommendations, and it is hoped that in the future, collaborative research involving general practitioners, referral institutions, and commercial laboratories will facilitate a more rapid and comprehensive development of evidenced-based clinical knowledge regarding senior pets.

Veterinarians must base their decisions and actions on their own expertise, experience, and knowledge. Veterinary practitioners are also charged with making decisions for each individual animal based on the best available scientific evidence, in conjunction with clinical experience.

The actual incidence of subclinical disease that is detected by routine screening tests remains undetermined. Practitioners are urged to develop systems for identifying and recording such conditions, perhaps in a collaborative effort with the commercial laboratory most frequently used. It is hoped that in the future such data will allow computation of the incidence, prevalence, risk factors, and effects of early detection and treatment of subclinical diseases.