As a house call veterinarian for 26 years, I have provided home pet euthanasia for hundreds of clients and their pets. I face these decisions on a weekly, and sometimes daily basis and I endeavor to counsel my clients through this very emotional and gut wrenching decision making process. Because I have adopted various cats and dogs throughout my practice career, I am not immune to eventually having to face this decision on a very personal level. That is where I find myself today with my faithful and dear companion, Bogie cat. I will share my own personal experiences to hopefully guide you through this process when you are faced with it. When the time does come for Bogie, home pet euthanasia will be the natural choice for me.
Home Pet Euthanasia – When is the appropriate time?
Home pet euthanasia is an option that most people have never thought about. Determining the appropriate time is probably the most often asked question I get over the phone or in emails from my clients regarding euthanasia. In some cases, it is more straightforward than others. Let me share my own personal experience with my own cat Bogie but first, a brief history is in order. I diagnosed him with chronic kidney disease (aka CKD) over two years ago. Periodically I have monitored his blood and urine lab values. By also monitoring his weight and observing his water and food intake plus his bathroom habits, this has given me a good handle on his physical condition. The decline has been slow. For the most part he has continued to live a happy life, eats well and has trained us to cater to his every need. CKD creates a desire to drink more water. One of his favorite things to do is drink out of the faucet. His choice of faucet depends on where his people and his brother Harley are. Clearly this is usually the kitchen!
On Monday (it is now Friday) he declined rapidly. Over the weekend I had noticed his appetite dropping off and his energy level fading. On Monday he vomited repeatedly and otherwise stayed in our bed without moving. I instituted in-home treatment for what I call “acute on chronic kidney failure.” That evening my wife and I prepared for the inevitable. That was then. Today I am ecstatic to say Bogie is back with us. He has responded to in-home treatment, is back drinking, eating and giving me inspiration to write this blog. He is seeking attention and his wonderful “voice” is back. I am so grateful. So today will not be the day for him to depart but I know it will come down the road. When I took on the responsibility of pet care, I took it on for life and I pledged to my pet family that I would not let them suffer. As their caregiver and also their veterinarian I promised that when the time came for them to depart this world that I would provide them an easy, humane, compassionate and pain free pathway. I am blessed that I have the training, skills and knowledge to make this happen at the appropriate time. As a house call veterinarian, I provide this same service to my clients. I will work with you in determining the appropriate time. Every case is unique and many things have to be taken into account in coming to a final decision. Please let me help.
Benefits of Home Pet Euthanasia through At Home Pet Doctor
- Comfortable environment-your pet probably has a favorite perch where he or she feels most at ease.
- Compassionate-with 26 years of experience in home pet euthanasia, I will ensure your pet eases across the Rainbow Bridge in a tender and understanding manner, the same way I would approach the passing of my own four-legged companions; deep sedation is provided prior to euthanasia to provide calming, pain mitigation, removal of fear and induction of a deep sleep state.
- Familiarity-removes fear from having to travel to a clinic full of unfamiliar smells and unusual surroundings.
- Mitigation of pain-pets in pain do not travel well in the car. Putting a painful pet in the car adds stress and increases the chance of worsening the pain. Pain increases the chance that an animal may strike or bite adversely, inflicting injury to the owner.
- Convenience-pets do not adhere to an 8 am to 5 pm schedule. At Home Pet Doctor is available during off hours.
- Humane-your pet is surrounded by people and “siblings” they feel protected and happy with.
- Immobility-large pets that lose their ability to walk present difficulties for owners trying to pick them up; increases the chance of the owner getting injured.
- Merciful-having the vet come to you is the most gracious decision you can make for your very ill, painful or dying companion.
- No time constraints-At Home Pet Doctor will not rush you through this emotional process. You are encouraged to perform your own memorial service if you so choose. We have been witness to some beautiful tributes and have been uniquely honored to be a part of this process.
- Full transparency and flexibility-we will explain the process to you so you are prepared; you are encouraged to be present during the whole process but don’t have to be; some clients choose to have the sedation occur inside the home and the euthanasia inside the mobile clinic.
- Aftercare made easier-At Home Pet Doctor will provide transport of your pet to the local crematorium if desired; many pet owners have a pre-prepared burial place on their property-we can help you place your deceased pet in their final resting place.
Home pet euthanasia allows you to provide your companion with a compassionate and humane death without leaving their refuge where they feel most safe and secure. When my own parents were reaching the end of their lives, their request was that they die at home surrounded by their loving family and pets. My mom and dad both got their wish and as a family we are grateful for that. These two personal examples in my life have committed me to offer this unique service to the four-legged companions in your family.
Stay tuned for our next Blog where I will discuss chronic kidney disease in cats, the most common affliction of our geriatric feline companions.