The AAFP releases updated Senior Care Guidelines

[BRIDGEWATER, NJ; June 29, 2021] The American Association of Cat Practitioners (AAFP) has released the update 2021 AAFP Senior Care Guidelines To be published in the July issue of Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. This update provides emerging advances in feline medicine in relation to geriatrics. The task force of experts presents a comprehensive, up-to-date review of feline medicine that focuses on the senior patient.
As specified in 2021 AAHA/AAFP Cat Life Stage GuidelinesCats over 10 years old are considered “senior”. Understanding the changing needs of each individual senior cat is crucial for both veterinary professionals and cat owners. Veterinary professionals are encouraged to use it 2021 AAFP Senior Care Guidelines To enhance their assessment and treatment of age-related medical conditions and to provide guidance to clients so that they are included in the feline health care team,” stated Task Force Co-Chair Hazel Carney, DVM, MS, DABVP (Canine/Cat).
The guidelines address the importance of regular veterinary visits of at least six months for senior cats between 10 and 15 years of age in order to better track and manage health-related issues and catch disease early. Healthy senior cats over 15 years of age should be examined every four months. Cats with chronic health problems may need to be examined more frequently depending on the severity of the disease. “The concept of newly emerging frailty is introduced in these guidelines and how practitioners can incorporate this into the assessment of senior cats. They also detail common issues in elderly cats including pain management, feeding and weight management, diseases and conditions, and quality of life,” Michael Ray said. DVM, Co-Chair of Task Force “End of Life Decisions”.
Discussion of how quality of life (QOL) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) affects elderly cats is included, and emphasizes the involvement of veterinarians and cat owners in making informed decisions for senior cats. The task force also understands the impact of caring for geriatric cats on the cat owner. Veterinarians are required to consider four budgets for care when developing treatment plans: financial, time, emotional, and physical. The weight of each of these budgets will vary for each cat owner and it is important to be aware of this when having decision making discussions.

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The AAFP provides additional supplemental resources for veterinary teams along with these guidelines including information on quality of life (QOL) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) tools, video presentations on myofascial examination techniques and easy tips for cats for dental exams, printable client brochure, Plus additional recommended resources.
The 2021 AAFP Senior Care Guidelines Supplemental resources are available at catvets.com/senior-care. Cat owner resources, including our new Senior Care Customer Brochure, are available at catfriendly.com/senior.
Thanks and appreciation

The AAFP would like to thank the staff for their hard work in developing the content of the 2021 Feline Life Stage Guidelines – Michael Ray, DVM, Co-Chair; Hazel C. Carney, DVM, MS, DABVP (Dogs/Cats), Co-Chair; Beth Boynton, DVM; Jessica Quimby DVM, Ph.D., DACVIM; Sheila Robertson, BVMS (Hons), Ph.D., DACVAA, DECVAA, DACAW, DECAWBM (WSEL), MRCVS; Kelly St. Denis, MA, DVM, DABVP (Cats); Helen Tuzio, DVM, DABVP (Cats), CVA; Bonnie Wright, DVM, DACVAA.
The AAFP would also like to thank Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc. and IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. and Merck Animal Health, Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets, Royal Canin, and Zoetis Petcare to support the development of 2021 AAFP Senior Care guidelines and resources through educational grants to the AAFP.

About the American Association of Cat Practitioners

The American Association of Cat Practitioners (AAFP) works to improve the health and welfare of cats by supporting high standards of practice, continuing education, and evidence-based medicine (catvets.com). As a trusted leader in the veterinary community, the AAFP has a long-standing reputation and a proven track record for facilitating high standards, including guidelines for excellence in practice and educational resources. Over the years, the AAFP has encouraged veterinary professionals to continually re-evaluate preconceived notions of practice strategies in an effort to improve the quality of practiced feline medicine. The Cat Friendly Practice® (CFP) Program (catvets.com/cfp) was launched in 2012 to improve the treatment, handling and comprehensive health care provided to cats. Its purpose is to provide veterinary practices, teams and individuals with tools and resources to reduce visitation-related stress and raise the standard of care provided to cats. Launched in 2020, the Cat Friendly Certification Program (catvets.com/certificate) now provides this education to individual veterinary professionals. Catfriendly.com or Cat Friendly Homes is the AAFP’s educational resource for cat caregivers that is supported by feline veterinarians and includes a monthly newsletter, The Cat Column.


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