Veterinary or animal care hospitals provide many services, from obstetrics and puppy care to surgical solutions and cancer interventions. One service that many people are not aware of or at least don't like to think about is end-of-life and hospice services. Unfortunately, when a furry friend comes into our life, we know that it's inevitable we will have to say goodbye. Making that process easier for both the animal and the owner is an important service that pet care hospitals provide.
What Is End-Of-Life Service?
End-of-life service is similar to human hospice care. Its purpose is to provide palliative care and quality of life for a companion animal when death is imminent, as well as emotional support for the owner. One aspect of animal hospice care not present in human hospice is the legal performance of euthanasia services when the quality of life has deteriorated to the point where death seems the most humane option.
Assessing quality-of-life issues should be a collaborative effort between the pet parents and the veterinary caregivers. Owners may not be able to be objective, while a veterinarian may have the clinical expertise but doesn't interact with the animal in a home environment. Quality-of-life assessments typically place pain, lack of mobility, and urinary incontinence at the top of the list of important considerations. It's up to the veterinary team and owner to assess when these conditions outweigh the ability to enjoy life. Quality-of-life assessments are critical when making end-of-life decisions. Up until that time, the end-of-life services team can assist with pain medications and any medical treatments that can preserve the quality of life as well as support the emotional needs of the owner.
The Euthanasia Choice
Some companion animals will progress through their senior years and experience a natural, uncomplicated death. For others, euthanasia is a humane and ethical solution for pain and suffering. The decision to end an animal's life should be made after careful collaboration between the veterinary team and the owners. You don't want to make the decision while an animal still has the potential for weeks or months of a rewarding life for both animal and owner, yet you don't want to prolong suffering.
Once the decision to end an animal's life is made, there are other decisions to be made. Will the euthanasia procedure be done at the veterinary hospital or in a home environment? Does the owner wish to be present? What will be done with the animal's remains? Your veterinary team can discuss all your options and help you through these difficult times. Just as your veterinary hospital has provided your furry friend with life-saving services throughout his or her lifetime, they will also provide the services for the best possible end-of-life care for your friend as well as you.
For more information, contact an animal care hospital near you.