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Elderly Pets & Final Care

How to care for your elderly pets

Elderly Pets

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 reveal 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. Age-induced arthritis 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.

Final Care

There comes a point at which, despite everyone’s best efforts, elderly pets' quality of life becomes too poor for them to continue. At this time, a decision has to be made to bring their lives to an end - in order to prevent their suffering. Making this decision is always going to be difficult, even when an animal is clearly very ill.

In all cases, if you are considering this course of action you should make an appointment to discuss it with us first. Not everything is as bad as it seems and a problem shared can very often be a problem halved.

Please tell the receptionist the reason for making your appointment. We usually endeavour to make such appointments at quieter times of the day. That way, we'll have more time to discuss things with you and hopefully you will not be kept waiting in a crowded room full of people and pets.

Another question you will have to face at this difficult time is what to do with your pet's remains. It is often extremely difficult to make a decision of this nature at a time of great emotional upheaval. However, it is possible, especially in the case of an elderly pet, to consider the question beforehand. We are always available to give advice and help you in this matter. The main options available to you are: burial at home or cremation. The pet crematorium is able to offer two levels of service: simple cremation without return of your pet's ashes or cremation with the return of your pet's ashes in an appropriate urn or wood casket.

Finally, it is important to know that it is normal, acceptable and healthy to grieve for the loss of a pet that you have loved and cared for over the years. Everyone who works at Lincvet knows and respects this, not least because we have pets of our own.

For more information, see our Time to Say Goodbye page. 
Call our hotline to book an appointment.