For the first time since 2009, the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) has updated its senior care guidelines.

The update provides updates on emerging advances in feline medicine that impact aging cats. “Veterinary professionals are encouraged to use the 2021 AAFP Feline Senior Care Guidelines to enhance their assessment and treatment of age-associated medical conditions and to provide guidance to clients so they are included in their cat’s health care team,” stated Task Force Co-chair, Hazel Carney, DVM, MS, DABVP (Canine/Feline).

The Guidelines address the importance of regular veterinary visits which includes a minimum of every six months for senior cats 10 to 15 years old in order to best track and manage health-related issues and detect disease early. Healthy senior cats over the age of 15 should be examined every four months. Cats with chronic health issues may need to be seen even more frequently depending on the severity of illness. “The newly emerging concept of frailty is introduced in these Guidelines and how practitioners can incorporate this into the senior cat assessment. They also detail common issues in aging cats including pain management, nutrition and weight management, diseases and conditions, quality of life, and end of life decisions,” said Michael Ray, DVM, Task Force Co-chair.

I was happy to see that the new guidelines also include a discussion of how quality of life affects aging cats, and how caring for an aging cat impacts the human caregiver emotionally, financially, and physically.

You can read the complete guidelines on the AAFP website.

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5 Comments on New Feline Senior Care Guidelines Emphasize Partnership Between Vets and Cat Parents

  1. Oh sure, every 4 months. Give me a break. Perhaps if there was reasonable rates and decent coverage for Pet insurance and if Vets didn’t charge outrageous fees for visits, exams, blood work, tests, more tests, drugs and more drugs, EVERY time I take my cat in, I could afford more visits. But as it is, being a senior on only Social security, with a senior (14 years old) cat, I can only afford an annual exam of $300. Unfortunately, because of this, I just found out my cat has developed Hyperthyroidism. THAT visit cost $400 and “needs” follow-ups every 3 months now because of the $65 a month meds he has to take that can cause renal failure.
    My cat is my only companion and it breaks my heart to see him suffer. I will do what I can afford to keep him comfortable.
    Reduce Vet rates and we’ll be able to save more cats!

    • Yes, veterinary care is expensive, but what most people don’t realize is that, relatively speaking, veterinary care, especially when compared to human healthcare, is actually not at all unreasonable. I’d encourage you to read this article to understand what goes into these costs, and as a former veterinary hospital manager, I can assure you that nobody goes into veterinary medicine for the money. Vets come out of vet school with a massive debt load, and veterinary salaries are very low compared to other professions.

  2. Thank you so much for this post Ingrid. We and Squirt’s Doctor are a team & this gives us that much more information & support.

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