Your pet is a beloved member of your family. Deciding how to manage end-of-life care for your pet is a challenging and emotional process. Our staff has special training and experience to assist you at every step along the way. Our focus at this time in your pet’s life is to make sure they are as comfortable as possible in their home environment. This can include palliative care and pet hospice, both intended to support you and your pet during this difficult time.
Palliative care is an option for pets suffering from a terminal illness. We offer comfort care for your beloved pet so they can enjoy as much great quality time with you as possible. Dr. Murray is a Candidate for a Certificate in Veterinary Hospice and Palliative Care through the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC, www.iaahpc.org), and will finish her studies in October 2018. This certification provides the latest information on different ways to provide comfort care to your pet.
Medications that can be given in the least intrusive way with the greatest relief of symptoms will be prescribed or dispensed. Referrals to ancillary support services and alternative therapies can be made as desired. There are many ways that your pet can be made more comfortable, and specific advice for simple ways you can make your home more accessible to them will be given. Diet and dietary supplements will be discussed along with recommendations to keep your pet eating and happy with the food you provide. This can be in the form of pet food or home cooked diet, whichever makes your beloved friend most comfortable and happy and which is in a form that you can provide given your lifestyle.
When assessing how best to care for a pet in the late stages of life, we provide our clients with information and resources on aids and environmental changes, such as:
- Medications to ease the pet’s discomfort and anxiety
- Incontinence medications and training on how to use them
- Ancillary support, such as massage, complementary medicine, and herbal remedies
- Caregiver training and handouts with helpful information
- Restriction from certain home areas for safety and comfort
- Referrals for grief counseling and pet memorial items, such as paw and nose imprints and items made from the pet’s hair
We also provide, as needed and desired by the family, daily interactive support by phone and email, or additional visits to assess changes in the pet’s condition and immediate needs. Our emphasis is on the pet’s quality of life and respecting the needs and desires of the pet’s family. At any point during this process, we are open to changing course and providing euthanasia, if that is what the pet owner chooses.
Pet Hospice is the essential caring for a pet that is dying and has been given less than six months to live. The goal of hospice is to ensure the comfort and welfare of the pet, emotional support for caregivers, and an understanding of the disease process for us all.
Hospice care includes all of the palliative support services listed above. We’ll listen to your concerns, review your pet’s medical history, quality of life assessment, home environment and other factors. This information will inform our decisions on the best ways to care for your pet as they approach the end of their life. We’ll be there to talk in detail with all caregivers about what to expect, including dispensing pain and other medications, and providing a “comfort kit” that contains drugs that can be given orally or by injection in case of an emergency. Pet hospice is designed to compassionately provide for your pet’s needs and comfort until the end comes, either by humane euthanasia or by hospice supported natural death.