A survey of RVNs carried out by Animalcare has highlighted an opportunity for practices to take a more proactive approach to educating owners about maintaining their pet’s wellbeing and welfare in older age. According to the survey, fewer than three in ten practices currently run senior pet clinics while there was a clear view among all respondents that additional educational resources would be helpful in supporting their efforts to engage with owners of senior pets.
The survey was undertaken to gain an insight into how practices are currently helping clients to ensure that their pets continue to enjoy life during their later years. Key obstacles to running senior pet clinics cited were inadequate staffing or a lack of time, particularly among RVNs. Seven in ten also felt that clients did not understand the benefits of regular attendance at clinics.
Responses from those practices that did run clinics, however, indicated that they were part of their practice’s ethos to care for pets throughout their life journey. The RVNs leading them felt well-supported by their colleagues, while suggesting that additional online resources, CPD and client care leaflets would be helpful for them in educating clients.
Commenting on the findings, Kirsty Cavill BSc (Hons) RVN MIATT said: “We know that during the 18 months of the pandemic, practice teams have experienced unprecedented demand for their services and have therefore, concentrated their resources on the daily workload. When considered alongside, the ‘pandemic puppy’ phenomenon, this means that veterinary professionals have spent a large proportion of their time dealing with pets in the early stages of their lives.
“As veterinary professionals we want to provide the highest standard of care to patients throughout their lives and, as the pressures of the pandemic start to ease, we have a real opportunity to highlight the need for a proactive approach to veterinary care in a pet’s later years, in the same way that we do for puppies and kittens. It’s time for a new mindset and a new focus on senior pets, which will benefit our patients and our clients.”
James Beaumont, Marketing Manager at Animalcare, added: “We hope to help practices to put the health and wellbeing of senior pets back on the agenda. To support them, we have created a suite of ‘Making Senior Easier’ resources to help them educate owners to ensure that their pets live longer and healthier lives. The resources include:
- Health check materials, including a ‘senior triage’ form to be completed by owners and a ‘senior pet assessment form,’ which can act as a checklist for practice staff
- Condition handouts for owners, detailing common age-related problems
- Generic short articles on age-related issues for use in e-newsletters and on websites.
The resources are available for free download at: www.animalcare.co.uk/seniorpet
“We hope that practices will find them useful and that they will help them, not only to provide a higher standard of care to pets as they get older, but also enable them to build stronger client relationships by offering a proactive approach to the care of senior pets.”
Practices are asked to contact their Animalcare Territory Manager or contact Animalcare’s head office on 01904 487687 for further information.