Also known as ‘putting to sleep’, euthanasia is used to end an animals life quickly, respectfully and painlessly.
The difficult decision
If you are facing this decision, this is not an easy time for you. The decision as to whether you should euthanase your pet, and especially when it should be euthanased, is one of the most difficult decisions you are likely to make. You need to prepare for the depth of feelings your loss will evoke.
The grieving that your family will experience with the loss of your pet can be extreme – you are loosing a member of your family.
Pet owners who face euthanasia of their beloved pet are embarrassed about the strength of their emotions.
Please don’t feel embarrassed. Almost every pet owner facing this difficult decision is, at the least, tearful.
At Albany Veterinary Hospital we strive to ensure that the euthanasia is preformed calmly, with the upmost respect.
When should you euthanase your pet?
Our belief is that, after sharing a long and happy life with you and you family, we should not allow our pets to suffer. We believe that humane euthanasia is a correct and very peaceful end for a loved pet that is old, or unwell and particularly when your pet has no ‘quality of life’ remaining.
What are the signs? Well, look for a reduction is activity and especially a reduction in interest in what is happening around them. Does your pet get excited when visitors come and recognize family members? Are they able to walk around with out discomfort? Is there a yelp or cry of pain when your pet tries to get up? Do they collapse after a walk? Are they losing control of the bladder or bowel? Is your pet fitting, circling or walking aimlessly with no purpose? Have they stopped eating or drinking?
If any of the above is occurring, then the difficult time may have arrived. Of course your pet’s condition may be treatable. The best idea is to have a consultation and discuss your pet’s condition and your concerns with the vet and make an informed decision after that. Some pet owners need to know exactly what the problem is and proceed with further investigation and others don’t.
Remember that you are in control of the decision. You know your pet better than any one else. And, what ever your decision, it will be respected by our staff
What happens at euthanasia?
It is always best to make an appointment, make sure that you let the staff know that you are considering euthanasing you pet. This will ensure that there is a vet available to see you when you arrive.
You can choose when and where you would prefer the euthanasia to take place. It can be a t home or at the clinic, inside or outside. You can be with your pet or not. These are personal decisions that you need to make prior to the appointment. Remember you will not be judged –it is all about what you want and how you want it to be.
You will be asked to sign a form when you arrive. This is a consent form which states that you are the legal owner and that you understand what euthanasia is. It also asks you to confirm what you would like to happen when the procedure is complete.
You pet will be weighed. This allows the vet to ensure he has the correct amount of medication.
The procedure it self is simply. We shave a little patch on the front leg. This allows the vet to see the vein. A nurse will hold up the leg and your pet will be given in injection of concentrated general anaesthetic, specifically designed for euthanasia. The drug is usually dark green or blue in colour.
Once the drug is injected into the vein, the onset of death is usually very rapid- a matter of a few seconds. If you are with your pet at this time, be prepared for the fact that is quick as many owners are taken by surprise. After the injection, your pet will be limp and unresponsive. They may lose control of the bowel and /or bladder. Sometime muscles contract and your pet may take some gasps. Thankfully not often and whilst this is not pleasant your pet is feeling nothing at this time and has ‘passed on’. Your pet’s eyes will probably not close.
After the procedure is complete the vet and the nurse will leave the room so you can spend as much time as you need saying your good byes.
You may choose to take your pet home for burial- be aware that council regulations prohibit you to bury your pet in your garden. If you chose to leave your pet with us, we will arrange you a local company to collect and cremate your pet, for this service the ashes are not returned.
A private cremation is also available and the ashes are returned to you. We give your detail to the company and they contact you directly to ensure that you receive what you want.
Please be sure that you have circled which option you would prefer on the consent form, so there is no confusion.
Losing your pet can be a devastating blow for your family. It is important to understand that grieving is a process: you need to allow time for all the family to work through this, in their own way and time.
You can expect to feel one or more of these emotions at a time of grief:
Guilt – you may feel like you should have done more. Try to put aside feelings of guilt ….. you know that you did the right thing.
Denial – some pet owners feel the need to get rid of anything relating to their pet. For others they need to hang on to personal effects as they feel disloyal. Be sensitive to all these feelings with in the family……sometimes a compromise is necessary.
Anger – you may feel anger towards those involved somehow in the loss, such as family members, your vet or even God.
Depression – you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and sad or disinterested in your daily routine. This is quite normal for a short length of time. Seek professional help if your depression continues.
Acceptance – Eventually, at varied times, your family will accept the loss of your pet. This is not to say that it will not hurt any more, or that you still think about them fondly, but that you have accepted the reality of the loss.
Try to face your pets loss openly and honestly. Discuss happy times with the family. Recounting your beloved pets life can be a healing process for you all