Quality and Compassionate End of Life Care
As pet parents ourselves, the staff at Animal Medical Hospital understand that as your pet gets older, the bonds you have with them become even stronger. We empathize with the emotions and decisions you and your family may be facing as your pet ages and always ensure that we treat end of life care with the greatest respect and consideration.
Our compassionate veterinarians and care team are dedicated to patient quality of life and comfort during their final stages and are here to support and guide you through this most difficult time. Together, we can discuss available therapeutic treatments and once these may be no longer appropriate or effective, our professional staff can guide you through various options in supportive care to ensure your four-legged family member is as comfortable and pain-free as possible. We are always here to answer any questions you may have and offer our support however needed.
Deciding when the time is right
We understand that saying goodbye to a cherished pet can be one of the most difficult things you will ever have to do, and we will make every effort to support you and your family every step of the way.
Every pet is different and while some live long, full lives, others can become seriously ill or injured earlier in life. Knowing when to make the compassionate decision to humanely euthanize your pet can be more than difficult. Our veterinarians and professional staff are committed to assist you through this time and help you evaluate and understand your pet’s condition while addressing your beliefs and needs.
Some important things to take into consideration while contemplating this painful decision may be:
- Does my pet still seem to enjoy life? Does he or she welcome attention from the family?
- Does he or she still have interest in their favorite activities?
- Does my pet still have an appetite? Interest in eating?
- Is my pet still able to carry out normal bodily functions as before? Walking and eliminating without much help?
- Is my pet in constant pain without much relief from medication or treatment?
- Does my pet have labored breathing? Chronic coughing?
- Has my pet lost a significant amount of weight due to chronic vomiting or diarrhea?
It can be helpful to be prepared for this difficult event by discussing any questions you may have with our veterinarians and professional staff. We are prepared to guide you through this experience and can speak with you about the process in as much detail as you’d like.
It is important to understand and remember that when carried out at the right time and used appropriately, euthanasia is a gift we are given to alleviate further suffering for our pets.
Once you have decided it is time, we recommend preparing yourself and your family for this difficult event.
Consider who you would like to be present at our office on the day of euthanasia.
- Allow family members to say their goodbyes and spend some time with the pet.
- If you have children or young family members attached to the pet, speak to them to prepare them for what will be happening and consider if it would be best if they are present.
- Decide if you would like to be present in the room at the time of euthanasia. For every pet owner this choice is different and for some it may be too overwhelming. Other pet owners prefer to be with their pet, comforting them during their last moments. Our staff can speak with you more in depth about the entire procedure beforehand, letting you know what you can expect.
Before euthanasia, we will advise you of the options you have after your pet passes.
We work with and have a long-standing relationship with a very reputable pet crematory and memorial facility that offers clients multiple options. Most of our clients decide on cremation for their pets, however we can provide you information on other services that the facility offers.
For communal or group cremation, your pet’s cremains or ashes will not be returned to you and will be carefully placed on the facilities beautiful “Field of Dreams” burial grounds. This designated burial ground area is for beloved pets who have been communally cremated, and the facility allows visitors during open hours.
When electing private cremation, your pet’s cremains or ashes will be returned to you. The facility we work with provides experienced specialists that are responsible for servicing private cremations on an individual basis and you can be assured that only your pets ashes will be returned to you. Our staff can provide more information on specific urns available.
Our pets are beloved members of our family and it’s perfectly normal and healthy to go through a grieving process. Everyone has a right to grieve and feelings such as guilt, shock, anger or sadness are a normal response to loss. Everyone’s grief is different and there is no right or wrong way.
It’s important to be aware that at times, other pets in the household may grieve for the loss of their companion. You may see a loss of appetite, some lethargy, crying or a loss of desire to be active. Most of these behaviors are often short-lived. Please be sure to contact us to ensure there are no medical reasons causing the different behaviors.
What happens if my pet passes unexpectedly at home?
If this happens, please call our office and we will be happy to discuss options with you.