End of Life Care  
and Euthanasia


End of Life Care

End-of-life (EOL) care and decision-making are medically, emotionally, and ethically challenging for everyone involved. 
Animal hospice care seeks to maximize patient comfort while minimizing suffering. 

When deciding upon humane euthanasia versus hospice-supported natural death care there may be several factors to consider. The main priority must always be the animals quality of life. This QOL quality of life scale can help you in determining the wellbeing of your beloved animal. 

Unfortunately there may be limitations in a pet owner/caregiver's resources, financial and otherwise, for providing animal EOL care for an animal. The vast majority of the costs associated with this care are an out-of-pocket expense for most people. This may mean that the options for animal hospice services may be significantly more limited. 

Hospice-supported natural death: Use of palliative care measures during a patient’s terminal life stage, including the treatment of pain and other signs of discomfort under veterinary supervision until the natural death of the individual animal.*

Palliative care: Treatment that supports or improves the quality of life (QOL) for patients and caregivers by relieving suffering; this applies to treating curable or chronic conditions as well as EOL care.*

QOL (Quality of life): The total wellbeing of an individual animal that considers the physical, social, and emotional aspects of the animals' life.*

Suffering: An unpleasant or painful experience, feeling, emotion, or sensation, which may be acute or chronic in nature; including, but not limited to, physical and emotional pain and distress.* Suffering may also include that of the human caregiver, including emotional suffering.

Humane euthanasia: The intentional termination of life by human intervention utilizing veterinary-approved methods that cause minimal pain, discomfort, and anxiety for the purpose of relieving an animal’s suffering.*

*Definitions as per AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association)


Euthansia

There tends to be great conflict and guilt when faced with the difficult decision about euthanasia. Even though this may be the ultimate act of love and kindness that one can chose for an animal, there is often great anguish over the decision. I can assist you as you think through your options at this difficult time. Many people now prefer to have in-home care and euthanasia for their beloved pet. Veterinarians usually offer this option and there are also mobile vets who specialise in home visits. 

Following euthanasia, some people find themselves feeling guilty, often doubting themselves and second-guessing their decision. They may wonder if they should have waited or whether they could have done more for their animal (or if they waited too long). These are all normal reactions. Try and remember that you made the best decision you could, based on the information you had and the circumstances at that time. This decision comes from a place of love and kindness and for that we should not feel guilty.

If you are struggling with decisions about end-of-life care or euthanasia for your animal or are in need of after-care support, please don't hesitate to reach out to me at info@wildflowerhealing.com