In home visits
As our pets reach their end-of-life stage, it can become more and more difficult to bring them into the vet clinic. Sometimes they are mobility impaired and just getting them into the car can be a struggle. Other times they have increased anxiety with vet visits. This upsets the owners as well, sometimes so much that they will avoid going to the vet and try to find help from other non-professionals.
Often just arriving at a veterinary clinic can increase a pet’s adrenaline, which may mask symptoms of pain. In the comfort of their own home, their level of pain can be measured in their natural setting, and relief can be provided by prescription pain control medication.
It can be difficult for clients to know if they are providing a comfortable environment for their pets; for them to move about, eat, and sleep peacefully. They may need help in finding appropriate flooring, feeding dishes, and bedding.
Many pets at end-of-life suffer from arthritis and other illnesses that impair their ability to walk with ease. Clients may need help in determining mobility support in the form of non-slip mats, carpeted stairs, ramps, slings, wheel carts, or other aids.
Getting a terminally ill pet to eat can be one of the most frustrating components of home health care. It can also be difficult to know how to choose the best diet. As veterinary professionals, we can help to select a nutritionally superior diet, often specific to your pet’s illness. We can also supply prescription diets, liquid supplements, and appetite stimulants.
It is important to owners that their pets are able to eliminate with dignity and comfort. This can be a daunting task for the un-trained person. There are many options for clients to help their pets – stool softeners, incontinence pads, hind-end support apparatuses, manual stimulation and bladder expression to name a few.
Terminally ill pets often struggle with anxiety, restlessness, sleep disturbance, and cognitive dysfunction. Behaviour modification techniques and prescription medication can improve their psychological wellbeing so they can be more comfortable and peaceful.
Support care measures
There are many veterinary treatments that can be done in the comfort of the pet’s home. Examples include subcutaneous fluid therapy, enemas, bandaging, wound care, infection control, injections of anti-nauseants and pain control medication.
Our hospice team is composed of veterinary professionals who can help you make decisions regarding your pet’s health and well-being. Often the pet’s primary caregiver can be so emotionally invested in their pet, that decision making becomes difficult if not impossible.
Quality of life assessment
Pet owners often struggle with the decision of when it is time to let go and choose to end the life of their beloved companion. Above all, they don’t want their pet to suffer; they want them to have a certain quality of life. This can be hard for a pet owner to determine on their own so they will often turn to their trusted hospice veterinarian to help them make this most heart wrenching decision.
In home euthanasia
When the decision has been made that it is time to say goodbye, it can be much more peaceful for the pet and owner in the comfort of the home they know so well. In the end during the euthanasia the pet may be on their favourite couch, lying next to the fire, or outside in the back yard. We will look after the care of your pet’s body, as you wish, and any memorial items can be delivered back to your home.
Caring for a terminally ill animal can be exhausting for owners. They put all their energy into looking after their pets and forget to look after themselves. Our hospice team can help with telephone support volunteers and referrals to our pet loss support group or professional bereavement counselors.