The new falcon herald logo.
Veterinary Talk by Dr. Jim Humphries

In-home euthanasia ñ- a peaceful and dignified choice

In the past, when we had to make the heartbreaking decision to put one of our pets to sleep, we loaded the dog or cat into the car and drove to the veterinary hospital for the procedure. This is already a very stressful time for you and the pet, but to add to this stress an anxiety-producing trip to the veterinary hospital; where the pet probably knows the clinic from previous, perhaps painful experiences, or where the surroundings are somewhat cold and clinical, just adds to the stress for both of you. Further, when you are very emotional at a time like this, the last thing you want is to be in a public place where you feel the need to suppress your emotions and where you may be sitting right next to a family that just got a new puppy and everyone is overjoyed. It is a bad setting for this final goodbye. We want to say goodbye to our pets in the comfort of our home ñ- their home.Today, the practice of in-home euthanasia for our pets is growing rapidly to meet the demand, as more pet owners learn of this option. Most pet owners find a great deal of comfort in knowing their pet was relaxed and felt safe and secure in his own home until the very end.Even people, if we had our wish, would like to die in the comfort of our home, and the growth of human home hospice is evidence of this fact. In fact, some surveys show that as many as 70 percent to 90 percent of people would prefer to die at home.Why At Home? Primarily because the clinic setting is limiting, and our homes are more personal, which allows the family to gather, the children to become part of the peaceful passing of their pet friend; and where you are free to express your emotions. In your home, you can even arrange for music or smells or even any type of memorial service to be held as your pet drifts off peacefully.This all makes for a better end of life experience. The process is not rushed; you are in control, and there is no wrong way to grieve about the loss of your dear companion. Done properly, in-home euthanasia is so much more than just showing up with the right drugs and a syringe. The doctor must be sensitive enough to judge each case and family, and adjust the process accordingly to make the passing as memorable and peaceful as possible.By law, this must be done by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or DVM. Properly trained and certified technicians or assistants can help, but they are not allowed to actually perform the procedure ñ- this is important.A doctor can also give you a second opinion so you can rest assured you are making the right choice Many people struggle with the question: ìIs it too early, or have I waited too long?î A veterinarian can help you with these critical questions.The process itself is done in two stages: first, your pet is given a heavy sedative and this takes about 15 minutes to work. While they are sleeping, they can still hear you and they know you are there, so this is the time for you and any family member to reassure them and say good-bye. Then, when everyone agrees, the final injection is given and it is a simple injectable anesthesia given in an overdose; and your pet will gently drift into their peaceful passing over the next 60 to 90 seconds.Euthanasia shouldn’t be confused with hospice care for pets, which I wrote about here just a few months ago. It is a relatively new option in veterinary medicine and is treatment for comfort and not for a cure. It is intended to keep the pet comfortable until natural death or euthanasia.Planning is good. Talking with a veterinarian who performs this service ahead of time, if possible, is important. It can answer a lot of questions you have and ease the process a little when it is time for you to say goodbye to your pet. If you think in-home euthanasia might be right for you and your pet, ask your veterinarian if they provide this service. If not, a simple Google search will find a veterinarian near you.——————————————-Dr. Jim Humphries runs an in-home euthanasia practice in Northern Colorado Springs. He also serves as a visiting Professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University. He lives in Falcon with his wife, horses and Great Danes.

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers