One option is the palliation of symptoms. Proper nursing care is critical when patients cannot care for themselves. Providing proper nutrition, hydration, warmth, and skin care provide comfort. Pain, nausea, digestive irregularities, respiratory congestion, and movement limitations should be medically addressed. When proper care is provided, the final days of life can provide solace to the caretakers.
Often medical intervention may not provide a level of comfort acceptable to the animal's caretakers. Euthanasia is often considered in these circumstances to hasten the pet's death. The decision to euthanize a beloved pet is among the most difficult choices a pet owner ever has to make. Consultation with a veterinarian will help owners determine whether euthanasia is appropriate and when that might occur.
In a quiet and comfortable environment, euthanasia is performed by a veterinarian with the injection of an anesthetic overdose into a vein through a IV catheter. Because an anesthetic is used, no discomfort is perceived by the patient. The patient passes quickly. The veterinarian will insure that the heart, pulses and breathing have stopped. Pet owners are free to be present or leave depending on their preference.
Prior to euthanasia, pet owners should decide how the pet's body will be cared for. This reduces the emotional stress at the time of the procedure. Our hospitals provide a range of respectful options, from burial to private cremation.
Through consultation with the veterinarian and the hospital staff, the last days of a pet's life can be comfortable and can reflect the care and love that the pet has experienced throughout its entire life.