Hospice and Euthanasia Services
Quality of Life Consultations and End of Life Services
As your pet ages or medical condition progresses, there may come a time when you begin to consider end of life services for your pet (euthanasia). Schedule a Quality of Life Consultation for your pet when you feel that Quality of Life has begun to decrease. Your pet’s veterinarian will help determine if there are reasonable recommendations that can be made to improve and extend the quality of your pet’s life. If you feel that your pet’s condition has already progressed to the point of needing euthanasia, the Veterinarian will do the Quality of Life Consultation and Euthanasia, if determined to be medically warranted. The veterinarian may administer a sedative prior to euthanasia if warranted.
The Pet Doctor follows guidelines published by the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care and the AVMA. According the IAAH, veterinarians “have an obligation to advise clients: While euthanasia itself remains an option for ending intractable suffering, it should not be used as a first-line treatment for pain, or as a substitute for compassionate, state of the art palliative care. Veterinarians are encouraged to be cautious with the message “there is nothing more we can do for your animal.” Veterinarians have an obligation to advise clients about available palliative care options. Alternatively, veterinarians can offer a referral to animal hospice providers who will discuss all available options. When a veterinarian believes that caregivers will be unable to provide adequate hospice care for an animal, euthanasia may need to be advocated for to prevent further suffering.”
The following section is from the AVMA.
Q: When should we euthanize a pet? How will we know it’s the right time?
A: This can be an incredibly difficult question for both the owner and the veterinarian, and is often a very tough decision to make. Sometimes, euthanasia is obviously the best thing to do for your pet. At other times, however, it can be less clear. An open discussion with your veterinarian, including an honest evaluation of your pet’s quality of life, should help you make the decision.
One way to determine if your aging pet is still enjoying life and can remain with us a little longer is by using a “Quality of Life” scale to determine if the animal’s basic needs are being met. This scale can be helpful for the veterinarian and pet owner when deciding what is best for your pet. In this scale, pets are scored on a scale of 1 through 10 in each category, with 10 being the highest score for quality of life. Again, only an honest evaluation of each category will help with the decision. Because the scoring is subjective, this score should be a part, but not the sole driver, of your decision based on your pet’s individual situation.
Quality of Life (HHHHHMM Scale) Score Criterion
0-10 HURT Adequate pain control (including breathing ability)
0-10 HUNGER Is the pet eating enough? Does the pet require hand-feeding or a feeding tube?
0-10 HYDRATION Is the pet dehydrated? Does it need subcutaneous fluids?
0-10 HYGIENE Pet needs to be brushed and clean, especially after elimination
0-10 HAPPINESS Does the pet express joy/interest? Does it respond to its environment? Does the pet show signs of boredom/loneliness/anxiety/fear?
0-10 MOBILITY Can the pet get up without assistance does the pet want to go for a walk? Is the pet experiencing seizures/stumbling?
0-10 MORE GOOD THAN BAD When bad days start to outnumber good days, the quality of life becomes compromised and euthanasia needs to be considered
Total A total of 35 points is considered acceptable for a quality of life score.
Remembering Your Pet
We encourage you to consider planning for mementos of your pet ahead of time when able. Many people find comfort in a lock of hair, an ink paw print, a clay paw print, or other token to remember their pet by. We also offer the following services at our office as a courtesy:
Clay Paw Print and Ink Paw Prints are offered at an additional fee.
Lock of Hair: Complimentary
If you do not wish to take your pet’s body home for burial, we do as a courtesy, offer cremation arrangement through Petland Cemetery. You are also welcome to make your own cremation arrangements elsewhere.
Communal Cremation: Price varies by weight. Please Inquire.
Private Cremation: Price varies by weight. Please inquire.