Hospice and Euthanasia

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, and this 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 difficult and heart-breaking decision of whether or not to let a terminally ill pet suffer any longer. An animal passing away is also a difficult time and there are a lot of considerations that you will need to make, such as if you have any special requests for her final moments, and whether you wish for 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 offer 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. Hospice care 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 her individual requirements. However, typically you can expect the care provided to include some of the following: Nutritional support Maintaining adequate hydration (may involve IV fluids if your pet is no longer drinking of her own accord) Assistance with passing urine and bowel movements Keeping your pet clean and properly groomed Ensuring your pet can move around her environment safely Pain medication 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 quality of life Ensure that your pet is as calm and comfortable as possible for her remaining days Euthanasia As heart-breaking as it inevitably is, making the choice to give your terminally ill and suffering pet a pain-free, peaceful passing is often the kindest act that you can do for your pet. Yet actually 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 in hope that their pet’s condition will naturally improve, but this is very rarely the case. Instead, their quality of life 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 she eat, drink, sleep and move around reasonably comfortably? Does she still respond to people around her? Is she interested in food or has she 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 and so 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 and 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, her heart will stop beating and she will slip away. The majority of euthanasia procedures proceed very smoothly and with little or no distress for your pet. Can I stay with my 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 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, she 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 what your options are regarding cremation or burial and support you with making this decision. If you would like more information on our hospice or euthanasia service, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us by calling our veterinary clinic in Algonquin, IL on 847-584-1900.