Welcome all, for another blog here at Karls Corner; I trust it finds you all hale and hearty? Sometimes a vets’ life isn’t an easy one, and we have to do procedures that aren’t our favourite things to do. As Veterinarians we take an oath to treat all animals to improve their health and quality of life; this also includes giving them a peaceful end when that time comes, and also to end any unnecessary suffering they may be experiencing.
I therefore want to broach the subject of one of the services we offer here at Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre – Home Euthanasia. Very often, the time when our beloved pets need to say goodbye to us is the most important time of all. This is when the lifetime bond we’ve developed with them really comes to the fore; it can be used to ease their suffering and it’s when they truly do need us the most.
A lot of the SLVC team have been through this bereavement themselves, so they are very well placed to support you when the time comes for you to say goodbye to your fur-babies. The top priority to us at Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre is that the euthanasia process is undertaken in the correct manner; this means doing it with respect, compassion and empathy. We regard it as the highest compliment and honour to be with you and your pet at the time when you need us most.
It decreases the stress levels that some pets feel if they visit the practice; your pet will be in their own familiar surroundings, complete with their own smells and sounds at home. Hopefully, you will have been with the practice for a while so that we have all had time to build up a great relationship, which will further ease potential stress.
Having said that, you can be a new client to the practice and the service is still available for you, should the need arise. Where possible, the decision to assist your pet to a peaceful passing will have mutually been arranged after examining your fur-baby and discussing all possible options. Sometimes even the best preparations can be at Mother Natures’ whim, and if a sudden, unexpected situation arises we will try our utmost to come out and see you at home as soon as possible during working hours.
Here at Saint Leonard we do recognise how hard it is to reach the decision that it’s time to say goodbye to a much-loved family member; remember, we’ve had to do it ourselves, and I include myself here. It can be tempting to” just see how it goes and let nature take its course”, keeping them at home rather than making that call to arrange their euthanasia.
The only thing I can say is that even very gravely ill pets can take a long period of time to reach a “natural” death. As this process happens, your pet may be in unnecessary pain, unable to eat or drink, wee or poop, and struggle to breathe. And this is where the bond and love I spoke of at the beginning of the blog really comes in; our pets trust us to do the right thing for them, and it cannot be understated the selfless love that we can show them by giving them a peaceful death.
As their human, you will know all the barely perceptible nuances of your pets’ behaviour and health. As their veterinarian, we will know when “it’s time” after examining them thoroughly. This is when we all say that it’s better soon than too late; it avoids any unnecessary pain, discomfort and suffering.
When we have come to the decision that euthanasia is the option for your pet, and they are in the surroundings they are most comfortable with, we will sometimes administer a sedative. All your pet will feel is a sharp scratch; similar to what we feel when we have an injection into our arm muscles. This is the only bit of discomfort in the procedure for them should we opt to do this, and lasts for a very brief time. Once your fur-baby is sedated and relaxed, maybe in their bed or in your arms, wherever you and they are most comfortable, we will give them a final injection. This injection is normally given into a vein, and we will confirm when your pet has passed peacefully away; although a lot of you will feel when this happens before we tell you.
It isn’t necessary for a sedative injection to be given on every occasion, and this is something a judgement call we make on each visit after we do a final examination of your pet. The main factor for us is to make the process as peaceful and stress-free for both you and your beloved furry family member.
Perhaps the main advantage of having chosen to have your pet euthanized at home only gets appreciated when they have passed away; you can take as much time as you need afterwards to say goodbye and have cuddles with them. You can choose to keep their body at home for burial in their territory, or we can organise a group or individual cremation for them. If you opt to have them taken away for cremation, we will wrap them carefully in blankets and carry them gently to our pet ambulance to take them to the chosen facility.
I appreciate that this is a conversation that you would really rather not have, but please be assured that here at SLVC we are always available for you should you want to phone us. We never charge for our advice, and regard all of our customers as valued friends (furry and non-furry ones!).
Until next time; stay safe, stay well, and be happy :-). Oh, and cuddle your fur-babies at every opportunity 🙂