None of us like to think about the passing of our pets, but the fact is if you have a pet then eventually, you will have to go through the process of caring for them during the final days of their lives and in most cases, assisting them to pass peacefully. All pets will eventually succumb to an illness of some sort, cancer, renal failure and heart failure are the most common, but other factors such as severe arthritis and progressive neuropathies can have significant effects on a pet’s quality of life.
When should I consider euthanasia?
Euthanasia is often referred to as putting your pet to sleep or putting your pet down and is performed when an owner feels their pet with an incurable condition has deteriorated and has a poor quality of life. The purpose of euthanasia is to allow the pet to pass away peacefully, without any pain or suffering.
When we talk about “quality of life,” we are talking about both physical condition and attitude. The two are closely related, but often when we are having end of life discussions, it is the pet’s attitude that becomes more important. We can help our pets both by alleviating or treating the causes if possible or masking the effects with pain control or other supportive treatment. Your assessment of your pet’s attitude is personal and although others may have different opinions, it is your assessment that is most important. You know your pet better than anyone else, but it can be difficult during the end stages of a pet’s life to make a firm assessment because there are so many factors.
In general, if your pet still performs most of the actions he or she enjoys (e.g. eating, sniffing, play, affection), then the quality of life would be considered acceptable. As there is a reduction in these activities, there comes a point when the quality of life is considered poor and euthanasia becomes a consideration if there is no way to alleviate the condition. When that point comes will be different for different people and that is normal.
What happens during euthanasia?
All veterinarians perform the procedure in a similar manner, but there will be minor variations depending on the veterinarian’s preference and the pet. It is up to the owner if they wish to be present at the time of passing. There is no right or wrong decision in this, either is perfectly acceptable. Our clinic has a bereavement room for this purpose and owners can spend as much time as needed with their pet before and after the euthanasia.
If you have any questions regarding the process, including the handling of remains after the euthanasia (e.g. cremation), you may discuss them with the veterinarian and clinic staff at any time.
Can you stay with your cat during euthanasia?
We have a bereavement room designated for owners to be able to be present for euthanasia. We know how hard this time is for you and your family; you may spend as much time before and after with your cat, as you need.
What’s the cost of at home or clinic euthanasia?
The cost of euthanasia varies widely depending on if you choose to have your cat’s ashes returned to you. We also offer a number of different keepsakes to keep your cherished memories of your beloved cat close to your heart. Our staff can assist you in this difficult time.
Do you offer pet bereavement support service?
If you are having trouble coping with an end of life decision or recent loss, please reach out to someone at the clinic, so we can help you during this very difficult time.