Hospice & Euthanasia
Our dedicated veterinary team offers a full hospice and euthanasia service with compassion and care.
Hospice & Euthanasia Services
No owner likes to think about the possibility of being without their beloved pet. Nevertheless, it is an unavoidable part of welcoming an animal into your family. Our pets have much shorter lifespans than humans, which means that there will come a time when we need to help them through their senior years. In some instances, it may mean nursing support, and in others, we may be faced with the heart-breaking and challenging decision of whether or not to let a terminally ill pet suffer any longer. An animal passing away is also a difficult time. You will need to make a lot of considerations, such as if you have any special requests for his or her final moments and whether you wish for him or her to be cremated or buried. Such distressing thoughts can be made easier when you choose a veterinarian who can offer your pet the dignity and care she needs while also showing you compassion and support. Our dedicated veterinary team offers a full hospice and euthanasia service that can ensure that you both and your pet get the respect, compassion, and care needed during her senior years and beyond.
You have probably heard of hospice care for humans. It is something that is offered to patients with a life-limiting or terminal illness that is designed to improve the quality of the life that they have remaining. As considerate and committed animal lovers and veterinarians, we believe that our pets deserve the same courtesy.
What is included in hospice care? What exactly will be included in your pet’s hospice care will depend on his or her individual requirements. However, typically you can expect the care provided to have some of the following:
- Nutritional support
- Maintaining adequate hydration (may involve IV fluids if your pet is no longer drinking of his or her own accord)
- Assistance with passing urine and bowel movements
- Keeping your pet clean and properly groomed
- Ensuring your pet can move around their environment safely.
- Administering pain medication and any other medication that is necessary or beneficial, such as anti-nausea drugs
- Mental stimulation
- Love and attention
- Consultations with a veterinarian as and when needed
In most circumstances, you can expect your pet to receive an increasing level of care until natural death occurs, or you opt for euthanasia. What are the benefits of hospice care? There are a number of different benefits that can be experienced by pets and their owners when you decide to opt in to a hospice care program. These include:
- Preserves the bond between you and your pet during this difficult time
- Your pet gets the professional care needed, enabling you to focus on preparing your family and giving your pet plenty of love and attention.
- Avoid forms of treatment that could adversely affect your pet’s life quality.
- Ensure that your pet is as calm and comfortable as possible for his or her remaining days.
As heartbreaking as it inevitably is, choosing to give your terminally ill and suffering pet a pain-free, peaceful passing is often the kindest act you can do for your pet. Yet making this decision is usually the hardest of all. How do you know that it is the best thing for your pet? Many owners live hoping that their pet’s condition will naturally improve, but this is very rarely the case. Instead, their life quality will continue to deteriorate – something which can be unbearable to watch. Some things to think about when you are considering euthanasia for your pet include:
- Can he or she eat, drink, sleep and move around reasonably comfortably?
- Does he or she still respond to people around them?
- Is he or she interested in food, or have they been refusing to eat for some time?
The persistent refusal of food, chronic pain, distress or discomfort, and respiratory problems are all common denominators amongst animals who are considered for euthanasia. However, you and your family know your pet better than anyone else. Our veterinary team will take your judgment into account if and when we make a recommendation for or against euthanasia. The process itself is very straightforward and involves giving your pet an injection containing an overdose of anesthetic into a vein in the front leg. The tiny prick of the needle is barely noticeable, and your pet will quickly become unconscious. From this point, any chronic pain that she would usually feel is gone, and within a few minutes or so, their heart will stop beating, and they will slip away. The majority of euthanasia procedures proceed very smoothly and with little or no distress for your pet.
Many pet parents ask if they can stay with their pet during the euthanasia process. This is one of the most common questions that we are asked. It is entirely your decision whether you stay with your pet while he or she is put into eternal sleep. Some owners prefer to spend their pet’s last moments with them, while others can’t bring themselves to watch. There is no right or wrong. Rest assured that if you feel unable to be with your beloved animal while she is euthanized, they will still be given love and compassion by our team. Our sympathetic and supportive euthanasia team will speak to you to see if you would like to have a moment alone with your pet or if you have any special requests. Some owners like to take paw prints or locks of hair, while others would like to take some time in prayer. We will seek to be as accommodating as we can during this time. We will also speak to you about your options regarding cremation or burial and support you in making this decision.