Hospice and End of Life Care
One of the hardest decisions you will likely have to make is deciding when it is time to let your beloved pet go. Sometimes the choice is an easy one; your pet’s disease has progressed and they are obviously distressed. Other times it can be difficult because your pet’s symptoms wax and wane or because in some areas they are worse but others the same or even better.
Our biggest concern here at the Cancer Center is quality of life (QOL) and maintaining it as long as possible. While there are some minimums to QOL, exactly where the line is drawn is a deeply personal choice. You, as the caregiver for your pet, are the best person to evaluate how they are doing in their daily life. Keeping a record of how your pet is doing daily, will help you evaluate how they are doing in the long run. We can give recommendations based on what we see in the clinic, but ultimately it is a decision that you and your family must make. Remember, too, that your pet has been diagnosed with a terminal disease, and there is no wrong decision to make in regards to your pet so long as they are happy and comfortable.
As difficult as the thought of euthanasia and end of life care is, it is important to talk with the members of the immediate family ahead of time. Knowing what actions will be taken, when they will be taken, and who is ‘in charge’ of making those decisions, will help make that time, when it comes, go much more smoothly. Consideration should also be given to aftercare and what ways, if any, you’d like to memorialize your pet.
This section contains some information about assessing quality of life, euthanasia (what it is and options for it), and options for aftercare of your pet. Also included are some pet grief and counseling resources for those who are interested or in need of them.