One of the FIRST certified veterinarians in Hospice and Palliative Care

Euthanasia Process

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It can be hard to determine if or when the time is right to humanely end your pet's pain and suffering. Euthanasia of a beloved pet is a solemn time for everyone involved. This is a difficult topic to discuss and read about. However, it may be less of a strain if you have prepared in advance for the euthanasia process and you know what to expect.


Why Euthanasia

Euthanasia in animals is intended to end suffering when there is little or no hope of recovery from an illness or injury. As a pet owner, the decision whether or not to euthanize can be a very difficult one. Dr. Doug will guide you and your family through the decision-making process and help you keep the best interest of your pet in mind. Ultimately, the choice is up to you. Just know that your decision is the right one if it was made with your pet's best interests in mind. Once you have made the difficult choice of euthanasia it is important that you know what to expect before, during, and after.


Prior to Euthanasia

Once Dr. Doug arrives, he will met your pet. After meeting your pet we will complete all paper work and decide about after care. You can then decide if you would like to be present during the procedure. As hard as it may be to watch your pet pass away, remember that your presence will be a comfort in your pet's final moments. Would  you like family members or friends to be present? Dr. Doug can help you make these decisions, please ask any questions that come to mind. Since we only provide in home euthanasia you will need to be present. However you do not need to be present during the entire procedure. Dr. Doug will explain the euthanasia process prior to giving the first anesthesia injection. We work with Midwest Cremation Service and can arrange for group or individual cremation. If you wish to keep your pet's remains Dr. Doug can advise you as needed.


Take time to say goodbye. Talk to your pet, hug them, express your love for them. Allow friends and family members to do the same.


During Euthanasia

Euthanasia involves the intravenous injection of a solution of pharmaceutical agents that will quickly stop the heart and breathing. The most effect way to administer the solution is into a vein or body cavity. Dr. Doug will administer an anesthetic to your pet prior to administering the actual euthanasia solution. Within minutes your pet will be unable to feel any pain. Once your pet is anesthetized, the euthanasia solution will be injected into your pet's vein, where it rapidly travels throughout the body. Breathing will slow down and then stop over the next several seconds. Cardiac arrest will soon follow, resulting in death. Typically, a peaceful death occurs within 30 to 60 seconds of intravenous administration. Keep in mind that it may take several minutes depending on your pets condition.


After Euthanasia

Once the solution has been administered, Dr. Doug will listen to your pet's heart to confirm death. He will let you know when your pet has passed on. This is an emotional time, you will have as much time as you need to say goodbye. Be aware that your pet's body may release urine, feces, and possibly other bodily fluids upon death. This occurs due to the relaxations of all muscles. Know that your pet's eyes will remain open. Sometimes, there are muscle spasms and/or sounds as the air and energy leave your pet's body. This does not mean your pet is still alive; it is simply part of the process that occurs after death.


Aftercare

If you are keeping your pet, Dr. Doug will quietly leave. Otherwise, he will give you as much time as you need to say goodbye. When you are ready Dr. Doug will gently take your pet and transport them to his house where our cremation service will pick them up. Upon arriving at the house, Angel Claire (pictured above) will greet your pet and say her final goodbye's.


Grieving the Loss of Your Pet

Grief is a different for everyone, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Remember the good times you had with your pet, and know that they would thank you for relieving his suffering. Consider doing something special to memorialize your unique and much-loved companion. Dr. Doug can make clay paw prints for you. You may wish to plant a tree or other plant in memory of your pet. Another therapeutic exercise during grief is to write about it. A poem, story or written tribute can help you say goodbye to your beloved pet in words.