Euthanasia – Saying Goodbye
It comes to a time when we have to say ‘goodbye’ to our beloved pet. This is a very difficult time and our emotions are heightened making it impossible to comprehend the situation. They have given us so many wonderful memories. Our pets are a part of the family, they bring joy and laughter to our lives and just like many things they are a huge responsibility we commit ourselves to for as many as 15 years. Pets are euthanased for a variety of reasons. For whatever that reason may be, we understand it’s a difficult process. As veterinarians and veterinary nurses we have all had to say goodbye to a beloved pet at some stage in our career so we can sympathise with your feelings.
How do I know when to Euthanase my pet?
This is never an easy decision to make and your veterinarian will always be there to support you as much as you need. Depending on the motives of your decision there are a few things that you can consider to assist with the process:
- How is there quality of life?
- Can they walk to go to the toilet or do they need assistance? Do they soil the bed?
- Are they in pain?
- Have they lost their appetite?
- Are they depressed?
- Do they find it difficult to stand from sitting?
- Have you noticed sudden behaviour changes like barking or anxiety?
- Do they look comfortable?
What matters most is your pet’s welfare. Your veterinarian will advise you whether their illness or injury is treatable or whether it may be time to say goodbye. In some cases if there are a few days spare we suggest taking your pet home for some last minute pampering and indulging.
What happens when I bring my pet in for Euthanasia?
An appointment will be booked for you with the vet to which you will have time to discuss any concerns your may have. We understand how distressing this time will be for you but in saying that it’s important to remain as calm as you can for your pets comfort. Coming to the vet can be a very stressful time for all animals and if they sense you’re scared most of the time they to will be scared too.
If you wish to hold your pet you are welcome to do so. Feel free to bring along their favourite belongings to help relax them. In some cases pet owners wish to not be present and this is absolutely fine too. It is incredibly important to us that this experience is as comfortable as it can be for you and your pet. We also ask that you do not feel ashamed or embarrassed about being upset. All of our vets and nurses understand the difficultly of the situation and would feel the same in your position.
To help reduce any stress, your pet may first be sedated with a small injection under the skin. Then, the vet will place a catheter in the vein in their front leg to allow for an easy access and help the end process be as smooth as possible. The catheter placement causes minimal discomfort and is nothing more than an injection. In some cases the veterinarian won’t use a catheter.
When you are ready to say goodbye, the vet will then inject a euthanasia solution that is a highly concentrated anaesthetic. They feel no pain or discomfort at any stage, within seconds your pet will drift off into a deep sleep and eventually their breathing will stop and lastly their heart stops beating. As your pet’s muscles begin to completely relax their bowels and bladder may release some urine or faeces, which is completely normal. Your vet will give you as much time as you need in the consultation room to say your last goodbyes.
Where does my pet go after they have been euthanased?
The vet will place your pet in the sleeping position and as for hygiene reasons they will be placed into a pet body bag. Whilst your pet is still alive consider what you would like to happen to your pet after they have gone. This can make it easier and it is less likely you will regret your decision. There is the option for you to take your pet home for burial, have them privately cremated or communal burial. If you take your pet home for burial we can provide you with a bag that decomposes to avoid burying them in towels or blankets.
Will my other pets grieve?
It is likely they will. Animals form strong relationships with each other and when one suddenly leaves it can cause reactions of stress and anxiety.
- Its important to not rush out a buy another pet, allow yourself and other pets to grieve.
- Now that one pet has gone keep your other pets in routine, don’t change their food or exercise habits.
- Avoid being over affectionate, sometimes this can cause separation anxiety.
- If you have several pets, don’t get involved in their domestic arrangements, let them work it out.
Our vets and nurses are more than willing to help you through this process. If you are unsure as to whether your pet is ready to be euthanased or you are not ready, come and speak to one of our helpful vets or nurses. We can provide you reassurance and the guidance you may need to make an informed decision.
With summer approaching, we decided it was a good time to alert our pet owners to the risk of heat stroke. Unlike people, most animals can’t sweat and have to lose excess heat through evaporation by panting. This makes it difficult for them to cool down and puts them at greater risk of heat stress on hot days and when doing strenuous exercise.
As our companion animals become older, you may start to notice the negative effects of osteoarthritis. Arthritis is a common condition causing inflammation, swelling, pain and discomfort in joints. There are many treatment options available to help control arthritis in our pets. If you think your pet may have osteoarthritis, please speak to your veterinarian. They can examine your animal, discuss your concerns, and work with you to put together a plan to help improve and manage the problems you are seeing.
Joint problems mainly occur in dogs, but some large breads of cats may also suffer. This article explores the causes, diagnosis and treatment of osteoarthritis, cruciate ligament rupture, hip dysplasia and medial luxating patella in pets.
Urinary incontinence in dogs can be very confronting and frustrating for dog owners. There are many causes ranging from physical problems resulting from injuries or illness to neurological problems, birth defects or old age.
Dogs and cats can suffer stomach and bowel problems ranging from diseases such as pancreatitis, to the ingestion of foreign objects and the build up of hair resulting in hair balls. Read about causes, symptoms and treatments for stomach and bowel issues.
All animals and pets are at risk from poisons, toxins and venoms in and around our homes. Some of these substances may be naturally occurring, and may be non toxic to humans. Find out which plants, foods and other substances put our pets at risk.
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