It is normal for pets to slow down as they get older. It is hard to say when a pet becomes elderly, it varies widely from individual to individual, from species to species and from breed to breed. As a rule of thumb we can class dogs over 10 years and cats over 12 years as "elderly".
Many elderly animals will suffer from the gradual onset of organ failure although they will appear perfectly normal on the outside. Often by the time they become ill it is too late to do anything to prolong their lives.
On the principle that prevention is better than a cure we are able to offer routine blood screening to older pets. These tests might show up signs of preventable or treatable diseases long before the pet becomes ill. The tests are particularly useful prior to performing surgery on older patients so that we can take extra precautions with pets we know to be unwell.
Arthritis is particularly common, especially in dogs. Arthritis due to age cannot be cured but it can be made much less painful for the sufferer by the use of anti-inflammatory drugs. Modern anti-inflammatory drugs are very safe and effective and can considerably improve an elderly pet's quality of life.
Our primary aim when treating older pets is to improve their quality of life whilst causing as little distress to them as possible. We will always try to do what is best for both you and your pet by offering and discussing as wide a range of options as possible.