In-Home Hospice Care Is Available for Terminally Ill Pets

Posted on: 25 June 2015

If your pet is in declining health, but you want to keep the animal at home during his or her final days, a veterinarian who provides in-home pet hospice care can make those days more comfortable for your pet and less stressful for you. In many areas of the nation, veterinarians and local animal hospitals offer in-home hospice care and euthanasia for aging or terminally ill pets.

The goal of these programs is to keep a dying pet as healthy, happy, and pain-free as possible. If the animal's suffering becomes too bad, you may choose to have the veterinarian euthanize your pet in a familiar environment with family members present.

What Veterinarians Who Provide Pet Hospice Care Do

With pets living longer, vets are seeing more cases of bone, bladder, skin, and lung cancers; kidney failure; and debilitating arthritis. These and other serious medical conditions cause pets pain and distress in their last days. Veterinary services that provide end-of-life care make visits to the pet's home to monitor the animal's vital signs, deliver medications, and offer dietary and other advice about end-of-life care.

Because it's a difficult time for the pet owners as well, veterinarians involved in pet hospice care programs also provide empathy and support to the families. The visiting vet can help to make you feel less helpless by instructing you on how to watch for changes in your pet's condition and suggesting ways to make him or her more comfortable. Hospice care isn't so much about prolonging life as it is about giving your pet the support and care that will improve his or her quality of life even though the end is near.

The Part Euthanasia Plays in Pet Hospice Care

Although euthanasia isn't a topic pet owners want to talk about, sometimes a vet recommends it to end a pet's suffering. It helps to discuss the option in advance so you can make an informed decision should your pet's condition worsen to the point of a severely diminished quality of life. However, compassionate care doesn't always include euthanasia. Sometimes a veterinarian can help even a terminally-ill pet die a natural death at home.

When hospice care leads to euthanasia, knowing when is the right time isn't ever easy. But if you don't want your pet to suffer, you can watch for signs that the pain has become too much. Even if your pet doesn't show outward signs of pain and discomfort, like crying or yelping, an animal that stumbles, falls down, or can't walk, can't lie down, or has trouble getting up is feeling pain.

Other symptoms that signal your pet is suffering include seizures, not eating or drinking, drinking too much, difficulty breathing, a swollen belly, or extreme weakness. Pale gums and tongue may indicate your pet has anemia, low blood pressure, or internal bleeding. Constant vomiting usually is a sign of end-stage kidney failure. For more indications, talk to a vet like Berlin Township Animal Clinic.


caring for a variety of pets

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