Growing Old Gracefully 

Saturday November 16, 2002, 8 am - 4 pm
Hollingsworth Auditorium
The University of Tennessee, Agriculture Campus, Knoxville, TN
Tel: (865) 974-5576


Two seminars for pet owners, veterinarians, veterinary staff and all other:

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Program Information


Caring for Your Aging Pet

Presented by Dr. William Fortney
Saturday 1 pm - 4 pm (On site registration begins at 12:30 pm)

Participants will learn:

  • How to be a proactive caregiver for the aging pet
  • How common age-related changes impact your pet
  • Management strategies for the aging pet

Senior pets can be a major challenge for the owner and veterinarian. Advancing knowledge of aging, newer technological advances and additional treatment options require veterinarians to develop a realistic and balanced medical approach. They must be proactive with an emphasis on prevention, early detection and timely intervention of common aging problems. The goal should be improving the quality of life, not just the length. The owner is the most important member of the health care team because no one knows the pet better. The more educated the owner, the better the care that can be provided for their pet.

Common age-related problems include skin and coat changes, eye disease, hearing deficits, changes in appetite, urinary problems, arthritis, and diminished mental capacity.


William (Bill) Fortney, DVM

Dr. Fortney, was the Director of Community Practice at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas until January 2002 when he retired after 25 years of service. Currently Bill serves as a consultant and speaker on small animal geriatric and pediatric medicine. Dr. Fortney received his DVM degree from the University of Missouri and completed a small animal internship and medical residency at Purdue University before joining the Kansas State faculty. Bill has received many honors and awards, including Kansas Veterinarian of the Year. He served as President of the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association in 1997. In 2001, Dr Fortney was elected to the Western Veterinary Conference Board of Directors and the advisory board for the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners.

Dr. Fortney has presented over 200 lectures and authored numerous articles on small animal geriatrics and senior care programs.

Dr. Fortney’s lecture sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health Inc.

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End of Life Issues: Making Decisions About Senior Pets

Presented by Dr. Susan Cohen
Saturday 9 am – Noon   (On site registration begins at 8:30 am)

Issues to be discussed

  1. Life with the senior pet 
    • Role of pet across the family life span
    • Effect on family of pet health 
    • and behavior changes 
  2. Quality of life 
    • Pet health and well being
    • Family health and well being
  3. Treatment, comfort, euthanasia 
    • Medical issues
    • How to talk to your veterinarian
    • Hospice concept
    • Euthanasia decisions

Managing the health of senior pets often requires complex, sometimes difficult decisions. When the issues are life and death, families may become frightened and confused. More options in home care and medical treatment force us to confront both deeply held beliefs and practical solutions.

As pet lovers and practitioners we need to find solutions that are right for the family, the medical team, and most of all, the pet. Viable options for one situation may not be viable for another. Using real life cases and drawing on the expertise of professionals, we will explore the key questions that create a framework for deciding the big issues.


Susan Cohen, DSW

Susan Phillips Cohen has developed and coordinated counseling and human-animal bond programs at the world's busiest animal hospital since September 1982. In 1983 she began the first-ever pet loss support group, where pet lovers who have lost their companion meet to help each other. Every year she conducts about 500 individual and family sessions to help clients make difficult decisions regarding continuation of treatment, euthanasia, and issues of grief and guilt.

In addition, Dr. Cohen began and supervises the Pet Outreach Program, which takes volunteers and their friendly, healthy pets to nursing homes, programs for the disabled, and abused teens. She lectures frequently on client relations, management skills, human-animal bond topics, career development, and stress management. She has written many articles and book chapters and co-edited Animal Illness and Human Emotion published by the J. B. Lippincott Company. She has also appeared on over 100 radio and television programs, including “The Today Show,” "20/20," and "Oprah Winfrey.” In 1998 she completed a doctoral dissertation at Columbia University School of Social Work on the role of pets as family members.

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When:  Saturday November 16, 2002
8 am - 4 pm
Where: Hollingsworth Auditorium
The University of Tennessee
Agriculture Campus
Knoxville, TN
Sponsored by: H.E.R.O. of Pets

H.E.R.O. of Pets is a consortium of six organizations dedicated to the promotion of humane education and responsible pet care. The consortium consists of the Cat Clinic, Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee (HABIT), Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley (HSTV), Knoxville Veterinary Medical Association, Oak Ridge Kennel Club, and the UT College of Veterinary Medicine.

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Department of Comparative Medicine
2407 River Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996-4543
Tel: (865) 974-5576