Euthanasia

In every pet’s life, the time may come when the difficult decision about euthanasia will arise.  Euthanasia is the term used to end a patient’s life via a humane injection, for whatever reason may be necessary.  Some people also refer to this procedure as to “put down” or “put to sleep.”

Your pet may have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or disease, may have been very badly injured, or may require a surgical or medical procedure that is beyond your financial capacity.  For whatever reason, the decision needs to be made on humane grounds of what is in the best interests and quality of life of the patient.  It can be extremely difficult to make the decision to euthanase a much loved pet based on your own emotions, and often we may keep a pet alive for longer than is humane as we cannot bear to let them go, which is a completely normal and understandable reaction.  However, sometimes we have to make the necessary decision for the pet’s quality of life and therefore we must be cruel to ourselves to be kind to them.  They have rewarded us with so many wonderful years of companionship and good times so now it is time for us to do the same for them and relieve them of a life of too much pain and suffering. 

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When is the time right? 

The decision to euthanase a much loved pet is always going to be a very difficult one to make and to try and decide when the right time should be, is even harder in many circumstances.  Your pet may become increasingly slower and more lethargic, may not be interested in their food any more, may be losing weight, or may seek solitude and not want to be with you.  These are all signs that your pet may show as they near the end of their life.  A pet rarely will pass away on their own, and often if they are left to die without veterinary intervention, they will also be experiencing a great degree of pain and suffering until it becomes too much for their body to cope with and their organs will start to fail and shut down. 

For patients that are deteriorating due to old age and arthritis, the pet may still appear to be bright and happy, but is progressively becoming slower and stiffer and experiencing an increasing degree of pain as the weeks or months tick by.  They may have good days and bad days and so we have to make a decision as to the timing of when enough is enough for our beloved pet and it becomes kinder to let them go.  This process is made all the more difficult in that the pet usually is still quite bright happy and alert, but their body is failing them and so ultimately they may be showing a brave exterior to cover up the pain and suffering they are really feeling. 

The veterinarian will be able to inform and advise you of how the patient is going medically and the progression of their disease but in the end, euthanasia is a decision only you can make for yourself and your pet, when the time comes. 

This can cause some owners a lot of angst, as it can be easy to think, “But he still looks so happy.”  It can also be common for owners to experience feelings of guilt following the euthanasia of a pet as because you will be missing your pet so much, you will try to reason with yourself that maybe you have made the decision too soon. 

It is a normal grief reaction to feel this way and the rollercoaster of emotions and feelings you will have is a way of trying to ease your own pain.  These feeling are all a normal part of the grieving process and grieving for the loss of a pet is no different to grieving for the loss of a human family member.

Sometimes euthanasia becomes necessary due to financial restraints of a family if their pet is suffering from an unexpected illness or accident that will require expensive surgery or medication.  When the welfare of the patient is going to suffer, financial hardship is a valid reason for a decision to be made to euthanase a pet rather than to prolong its suffering if appropriate treatment cannot be afforded.               

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Can we say goodbye at home? 

Saying goodbye is a very personal experience and we encourage every family to make the decision that is right for them & the pet they are saying goodbye to. 

If you choose to say goodbye here with us at the clinic, you will have a private room where you can take all the time you need. We welcome as many members of the family to attend the appointment, as we understand that the family pet is usually loved by many. 

If you do not wish to have your pet euthanased at the veterinary clinic, you are more than welcome to request a house call visit, which is often more comforting for you and your pet as you are in familiar surroundings.  If you wish for your pet to be euthanased at home, a suitable time for you and the vet can be easily arranged.