WHEN IS IT TIME?
The decision regarding the end of life care for a beloved pet may be one of the most difficult decision you make in your entire life; obviously, the consequences are irrevocable. When you are considering this option, I invite you to come in and discuss it with me. I view your pet as an extension of my family... and I can walk you through this difficult decision making process. Whatever your decision is, it should be one that you can always look back upon and know that the best one was made and that you would make the same decision over again in the same situation.
End of life care, for me, isn't synonymous with euthanasia. In fact, I prefer not to euthanize the patients that I have cared for and loved for all or most -- or even a portion of-- their lives. The singular focus in my practice is giving more life to your pet... to extend his or her days of ideal health. When you must decide "when it is time" for your pet to cross the rainbow bridge, however, I am here to talk through all of your options. For most of my clients, they prefer to have this done at home and we are happy to refer you to veterinarians who will do this for you.
If you're reading this page because you are a patient and you are considering euthanizing your pet, here's additional information to consider:
HOSPICE OR TRANSITION . . . HOW DO YOU KNOW IF IT IS TIME?
There are several criteria used in evaluating life quality, and Dr. Selmer can help you consider each of them carefully.
Is your pet eating? Basically, quality life involves eating or at least interest in food. An animal that is hungry has vitality that must be considered, though this is not the only consideration.
Is your pet comfortable? The pet should be free of debilitating pains, cramps, aches, or even the psychological pain that comes from the development of incontinence in an animal that has been housebroken for an entire life.
Does the pet still enjoy their favorite activities? The elderly pet does not necessarily need to continue chasing balls or jumping after discs but should enjoy sleeping comfortably, favorite resting spots, the company of family, etc. You know your pet better than any one and only you can truly answer these questions.
If you are considering helping your pet transition or providing hospice care, discuss the pet’s condition with Dr. Selmer prior to making a decision or even coming in for an appointment. Every veterinarian has a story or two about the pet that was brought in for euthanasia but turned out to have a relatively simple problem and that ultimately achieved a complete recovery.
The mental process of making the transition or hospice decision is heartbreaking, and you do not want to have to undergo this process twice; on the other hand, you do not want to euthanize a pet with a treatable disease. Many times people come in for their euthanasia appointment having already made their decision when, in fact, their pet has a reversible problem.
Do not assume your pet’s condition is untreatable. Call Dr. Selmer first and discuss the situation before you are too far into this emotional process to turn back. You may even consider a phone consultation to discuss this decision.
Use the medical resources available to you to get all the facts and options before making this decision.
We understand that this is the most difficult decision families have to make for their beloved pet family members. Please feel free to call us to ask any questions you may have about your pet's health or end-of-life care.