End-of life care and Euthanasia
One of the hardest decisions we ever have to make as pet owners is to euthanase of our beloved pet. It is a kind and loving decision to make for a pet whose quality of life has deteriorated, and it allows our beloved pets to die with dignity and without further suffering.
How will I know if it is time?
Sometimes circumstances mean that the decision is straightforward but often with terminal or chronic illness, that line may be less clear. Our vets are always here if you need any assistance in assessing your pet’s pain levels and quality of life, so please feel free to give us a call. We can help to guide you through this difficult process and help you to know when might be the best time to let your pet go. This Quality of Life Questionnaire can also be helpful HowDoIKnowWhen.pdf (osu.edu)
What happens when my pet is euthanased?
This varies a little depending on what you and your pet are most comfortable with. Many people stay with their pet throughout the euthanasia consult, however you do have the option to leave the room at any stage. If you prefer not to be present for the euthanasia that is okay.
If there is special music you would like played or certain toys or blankets you would like around with your pet during the visit we are happy to help you organise this.
During the visit, we may give an injection of a sedative first, to relax them and reduce any anxiety. Our Vets will always discuss this with you first. When you are ready, the Vet will place an IV catheter and then inject a strong anaesthetic into a vein. This gently transitions your pet into unconsciousness within a few seconds and their heart stops soon afterward. It is a very quick and gentle process.
Should I stay with my pet?
It is entirely up to you whether you stay with your pet or leave them in the comforting arms of a nurse. Many pets are euthanased while their owners pet and soothe them. Other owners find the procedure distressing and prefer to wait outside. The decision is entirely yours. Afterward you may stay with your pet for as long as you wish.
What are my options afterwards?
Individual Cremation – Eden Hills can pick up your pet directly from Brudine Veterinary Hospital and will return their ashes within a week. There are number of different options such as a scatter-box, urn or photobox. If you are looking for other options to remember your pet by you can look at their options online at www.edenhills.com.au. If you would prefer another Cremation Service we are more than happy to contact them on your behalf at the time of euthanasia.
Bush Burial. We can arrange for the collection of your pet to burial on a farm just outside of Canberra.
Group Cremation – This option is available if you wish to have your pet cremated but do not want their ashes returned to you.
Home burial - If you own your own farm or home you might prefer to bury your pet yourself.
Our pets play an important role in our lives and families and it is natural to feel upset and emotional when your pet dies. Please don’t be afraid to show your feelings in front of your vet. We are pet owners ourselves and we do understand.
Take time to heal from your loss. Grief can often hit you in waves or at random moments when you least expect it. Grief can manifest in many different forms, and your experience may differ from other people. Don’t be embarrassed to talk about your pet’s death with friends or family members, our Veterinary Team or other pet owners who understand your loss. Anger can also be a part of the grieving process but try not to feel guilty or to blame yourself or others for your pet’s death. Remember that you cared greatly for your pet and did all you could when they were unwell.
Try to focus on the good times and what you loved most about your pet. Treasure your memories and photographs.
If you find you are struggling to come to terms with the loss of your pet, recommend you seek the support of a medical practitioner or grief counsellor. Alternatively, there are several mental health support services that may be able to provide you with some assistance.
Griefline: 1300 845 745 www.griefline.org.au
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 www.beyondblue.org.au
Lifeline: 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au
If it should be
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain does keep me from my sleep.
Then will you do what must done
For this – the last battle – can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand
But don’t let grief then stay your hand
For on this day, more than the rest
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years
You wouldn’t want me to suffer so
When the time comes, please let me go.
I know that in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me
Although my tail its last has wagged
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must now be you
Who has to decide this thing to do
We’ve been so close – we two – these years
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
~ Author Unknown ~