News » Strokes & Plugs

Tests for your pets: Mission Animal Hospital offers free check-ups for elderly dogs and cats



Medical costs are high, and tend to get higher as one gets older. This is true for both humans and their furry friends, but luckily for the latter, Mission Animal Hospital is working on a solution.

From Aug. 22 to 26, Mission is offering appointments for dogs and cats older than 10 years of age, completely free of charge. These appointments include a comprehensive health and dental examination, an orthopedic evaluation, blood tests, a urinalysis, and an X-ray exam with two radiographs. They are calling it Senior Pet Health Celebration, and this $500 value will be given to the first 200 sign-ups at no cost or commitment.

TOO COOL :  A Mission Animal Hospital patient looks pretty hip in their safety shades, which are required attire during laser treatments. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MISSION ANIMAL HOSPITAL
  • TOO COOL : A Mission Animal Hospital patient looks pretty hip in their safety shades, which are required attire during laser treatments.

“There are lots of pet owners out there who are economically strapped, so they typically can’t get the best veterinary care,” said Kevin Toman, the veterinarian who runs Mission. “We want to serve pets that normally wouldn’t be served.”

Besides the age requirement, there are four other restrictions:

• Senior Pet Health Celebration is open to dogs and cats only.

• There is a limit of one pet per family.

• The pets must reside in San Luis Obispo County.

• It is not open to any pets who have been seen by Mission before.

Within two hours of announcing Senior Pet Health Celebration via email and Facebook, Toman said that they had already received three sign-ups. He hopes that if this time goes well, it will become an annual event.

“You gotta take care of the oldsters in the world,” he said.

Though Senior Pet Health Celebration is a new project, this is not the first time that Mission has offered its services to select groups for free. Pets of homeless people and pets of the very elderly are two examples of Mission patients who are frequently cared for at little to no cost.

“Every week we send out a veterinarian and a technician to all the local assisted living facilities and nursing homes, and we do all the work for free,” Toman said. 

This work includes not only routine checkups, but even procedures such as surgery or dental cleaning as well.

With charitable care already being routine for Mission, Senior Pet Health Celebration was the next logical step. But how, you might be wondering, are they going to raise the money for those 200 free appointments?

“We’re just swallowing it,” Toman said. “There are absolutely no fundraisers involved.”

This may seem bold, but Mission has shown that it isn’t afraid to do things a little differently. According to Toman, it is the only integrative veterinary clinic in the area, meaning that it uses a wide variety of treatment options, including herbs and lasers.

“However we can help the pet, we will,” he said. “Whereas most other places just rely on shots, pills, and needles.”

For Toman, it’s all about the solution.

“I’m a fixer,” he said. “I find that very rewarding. A pet comes in with a problem and we’re able to solve it; return them to health for them and their family.”

Sign-ups for Senior Pet Health Celebration are going on right now. For more information, you can contact Mission by calling 781-8888 or emailing

“Come on in and we’ll take great care of you,” Toman said. 

Fast fact

On Aug. 27, Atascadero-based group El Camino Homeless Organization will be hosting its annual fundraiser, Long Walk Home. Long Walk Home is a non-competitive walk that includes food and music, and you can register as a team or as an individual. There are prizes for the team and the individual that raise the most funds, as well as a prize for the team that has the most registered walkers. For more information, visit  

New Times intern Katrina Borges wrote this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send news tips to

Add a comment