End of Life Care
At Kulshan Veterinary Hospital, we understand that decisions involving end of life care for your pet are extremely difficult. Many of us have had to make these choices for our own beloved pets, and we are here to be a resource for any questions you may have.
Evaluating quality of life:
Determining your pet’s quality of life can be very challenging. There is no hard and fast rule to determine when it is time to consider euthanasia, and many animals are very skilled at hiding signs of illness or pain. The link below outlines some important ways to evaluate quality of life at home. We also encourage you to schedule a consultation with a doctor to examine your pet for signs of pain or discomfort and to have an open and honest discussion about end of life care.
In many cases, we can greatly improve a pet’s quality of life with medications such as pain relievers. Lots of old and arthritic dogs can gain a new lease on life and live comfortably for considerable lengths of time if provided with pain relief. Urinary incontinence can often be controlled with medications. Some diseases and even cancers can be managed for at least a period of time with appropriate management. If you are seeing signs of pain or disease (weight loss, change in appetite, change in activity, etc), the first step is to consult with a doctor. Once we have examined your pet and found a diagnosis (which may require further testing such as blood work or x-rays), we can discuss options for management as well as what to watch for or expect longer-term. Even in cases where there is no “cure” for the problem, medications for pain or clinical signs can have a huge impact on your pet’s quality of life and make their twilight period comfortable and happy.
Euthanasia: What to expect
While nothing makes this decision easier, it can be helpful to know exactly what to expect. The following link provides detailed information that walks you through each step of the process.
When the decision is made to euthanize a pet, you will be asked a couple of questions about your wishes. We recommend considering ahead of time whether or not you wish to present during part or all of the euthanasia, as well as your wishes for care of remains (see After Euthanasia below).
A Note About Rabies:
If your pet has bitten anybody within 10 days of euthanasia, it is important that you let us know. We will make specific recommendations to comply with Health Department regulations and ensure safety.
After Euthanasia / Care of Remains:
There are several options for pet owners, from home burial to cremation. The following links outline specific details and options for each.
Pet Loss Support
Different people experience different emotions after the death of a pet. Sadness, anger, denial, guilt, and grief are all very common feelings. It can be difficult to deal with these feelings, especially if those around you seem not to understand, but there are many resources available to help grieving owners to heal.
If at any time we can help answer questions or discuss concerns, even after your pet is gone, please do not hesitate to call. We are here to be a resource and support for you.
Please visit the links provided below for resources for grief support, pet loss for children, and pet loss support hotlines.
Pet Loss Support page
Getting A New Pet: When Is It Time?
Different people heal at different speeds. For some, getting a new pet provides comfort and supports healing. For others, the idea of ever having another pet is impossible to contemplate. Regardless, it is important to view a new pet as its own individual and not a replacement for the previous beloved pet.
How Can We Help?
If you have any questions or concerns, or if we can help during this stressful process, please don’t hesitate to call us at 360-354-5095 or contact us at We.Care@KulshanVet.com.