This paper provides a working framework for enhancing the well-being of senior pet dogs and cats. Approaches to screening the medical status of senior pets are described in detail, with particular emphasis on establishing baseline data in healthy animals, the testing of clinically ill animals, and assessing senior pets prior to anesthesia and surgery. The management of pain and distress and the application of hospice and palliative care are addressed. Advice on ways to approach euthanasia and dealing with end-of-life issues is also provided.
As a general rule, if a primary tumor can be completely excised with acceptable morbidity, surgery is the best choice of treatment.
A flow diagram outlining a basic approach to pain assessment in dogs.
The importance of complete and accurate historical information cannot be overstated, including current medications (e.g., over-the-counter, prescription, alternative, supplements) with regard to their potential impact on anesthesia and recovery.
A flow diagram outlining a basic approach to pain assessment in cats.
Clear instructions and follow-up for every pain management plan improve client compliance and patient care
The differences between acute and chronic pain, guiding principles for the management of both acute and chronic pain, and a tiered decision tree to aid in prioritizing the most effective therapies.
Every primary-care companion animal practice will encounter canine and feline oncology cases. A successful, full-service practice should be prepared to diagnose, stage, and treat cancer in dogs and cats, and should have a relationship with veterinary oncology specialists for purposes of selective case referrals.