END OF LIFE CARE
Coping with the impending loss of a pet is one of the most difficult experiences a pet parent will face. Whether your furry friend is approaching his golden years or has been diagnosed with a terminal illness or a traumatic, untreatable injury, it is important to calmly guide the end-of-life experience and minimize any discomfort or distress. As your pet's health declines, you may elect to care for your pet at home - with the supervision of a veterinarian - or you may decide to end his suffering with euthanasia, a Greek word which, literally, means "happy, painless death" or "death to end suffering". Euthanasia is a painless, gentle end of life for a pet that has reached a time in his life that requires intervention to relieve suffering. We are offering information that may help make your pet's final days peaceful and dignified. If you do not have a regular vet, please call Care for Needy Paws; we can refer you to a vet who can help guide you through your pet's final days.
IS YOUR PET IN PAIN?
When cats and dogs are suffering, they may not show outward signs that we normally associate with pain, such as whimpering or crying. Sometimes an animal will continue to eat or drink in spite of pain or disorientation. Some physiological and behavioral signs that your pet might be experiencing pain include trembling, excessive panting or gasping for breath, reclusiveness, reluctance or inability to move, not eating or food pickiness.
PET HOSPICE CARE
Pet hospice care, also known as palliative care (i.e. focusing on relieving the pain or discomfort of an illness, rather than on a cure), is an option if your pet is suffering from a terminal illness and a cure is not possible. The goal is to make a pet’s final days or weeks more pleasant with the proper use of pain medications, dietary strategies and human interaction. Pet hospice is not a place, but a personal choice and philosophy based on the principle that death is a part of life and can be dignified. When considering hospice care, pet parents should be very careful not to prolong the suffering of pets who are in pain or experiencing poor quality of life. We often want to keep them with us as long as possible, and that is a very normal situation. However, our choices must be made with the comfort of our pet as a paramount goal.
Euthanasia provides a painless, peaceful end for a pet who would otherwise continue to suffer. Your veterinarian has special training to provide your pet with a humane and gentle death. During the procedure, your vet will inject your pet with a sedative followed by a special medication. Your pet experiences no awareness of the end of life -the process is the same as undergoing general anesthesia for a surgical procedure and takes about 10 to 20 seconds. Stay with him/her during this transition so that you are the last thing he/she hears, sees, feels and smells. You have your job, your friends, and your family; your pet has only you. Their love and loyalty given us throughout their lives entitles them to that much. If you feel you cannot do it alone, ask a family member or close friend to accompany you.
There are veterinarians who will come to your home for this procedure so that your pet is comfortable with his/her surroundings. Please let us know if we can help in any way.
"If dogs and cats don't go to heaven, then I want to go where they go" - Mark Twain