In this blog post from our “From the Vet” series, learn more about the uncomfortable, but necessary topic of euthanasia – when it is time to say goodbye, how to celebrate your pup, and what the process may look like.
“What would you do?”
I can interpret my findings on physical exam, discuss lab work abnormalities, and discuss any concerns you have about your pet. I cannot make the decision of euthanasia for you but I can support you in your decision. In most cases I honestly don’t know what I would do…..I don’t know how your pets condition is affecting the rest of your life or the bond you share with your pet. Quality of life is not a simple discussion. It is complex and there are more things to consider then if your pet is still eating or drinking or not. How much of a burden is your pets condition financially? Does managing your pets medical concerns make it difficult to pay your other bills? How much stress does managing your pet cause you daily? Do you have time to care for your pet, yourself, family, and manage other responsibilities? What does your relationship look like with your pet? How does it compare to your relationship before he/she was sick?
It is difficult to bring up this topic to your veterinarian. Sometimes I think people are embarrassed, feel they will be judged, are scared, or just hopeful that somehow their pet will beat all the odd and things will pass. Any time you have question or concerns about end of life care or the procedure is a good time to talk to your veterinarian.
The procedure of euthanasia can be performed a number of different ways. The options really depend on what you and your family are most comfortable with. My preference is some form of sedation prior to an overdose of an anesthetic medication. The type of sedation I use in advance depends on how much time you want with your pet prior to the final injection is given. There are also some people who cannot watch this procedure no matter how smoothly it goes and do not stay at all.
There are also several options for after care depending on what you would like to do. It is always helpful to consider these options in advance, so it is not another decision that needs addressed the day you say goodbye.
The last piece of advice I have for you is that a planned euthanasia is always better! The last thing anyone wants, including the doctor that has been caring for your pet for years, is for you and your pet to end up at an emergency facility in the middle of the night surrounded by new faces. In the words of Dr. Mary Gardner, “It is better to help a friend a day to early than a minute too late.”
“How can I celebrate our pup’s life?”
Just one idea that brought us a lot of peace and joy are photos! Photos are a great way to celebrate your pet’s life. We did a photo session with our old girl before we euthanized her. You can read about the photographers experience too.
Your Partner in Healthy Pups – Dr. Eileen