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What is Pet Hospice, or Veterinary Hospice care for pets?2013/06/12

Hospice Services are very misunderstood! Hospice doesn’t mean cremation. Hospice care of pets doesn’t mean giving up. Veterinary Hospice is a family-centred service dedicated to maintaining comfort and quality of life for the terminally ill or geriatric pets, until a natural death occurs (hopefully when  in their normal uneventful sleep) – or the family elects peaceful euthanasia.

Just because a vet may have said “nothing else can be done” does not mean that euthanasia is the only option you have left.  Yes you may have to give up about a cure. But you can still strive for a pain-free existence for as long as possible.

Veterinary hospice care is a unique approach to your pet’s end-of-life needs.  Caring for pets is the priority. Same as human hospice care, this specific type of veterinary care is all about the comfort of your pet, not at finding a cure for his or her disease. We are past that stage.  Animal hospice care is really mainly appropriate for if your pet has been diagnosed with an incurable illness or if further medical or surgery therapy options have been declined in preference for a comfort-oriented choice. This is an unrushed choice and hospice patients can remain in hospice care for months or more. Our advice is to elect to try some of this care at home rather than be lonely in a clinical hospital for the last days or more of your loving pet’s life.

Animal hospice care is all about the client-pet-doctor relationship.  Education about your pet’s medical condition is very important, so you really understand the details of what is happening and can make educated choices about medication options etc.

Owners need to know what to expect in the last few weeks, days, and hours in order to make the best pet treatment decision for you, your pet, and of course your family.

Although at Homevet we cannot know for sure, we use our staff’s combined decades of veterinary and nursing knowledge to help you make those decisions.  We assist you in choosing and carrying out a plan that will meet your pet’s needs and respect your family’s wishes. A housecall vet is better suited to be able to help you with hospice care decisions, as they are able to perform a less rushed service, (and with a pet home visit, assess all aspects of the pet home health care better).

Pet hospice care is an option which may allow you to have more quality time with your pet. We truly believe that your pet should be as pain-free and comfortable as possible. In-home hospice care helps lessen the stress associated with visits to the veterinary clinic, and allows both you and your pet to enjoy the last period of time,  in the familiar surroundings of being at  home.

The veterinarian’s Hippocratic Oath commits us to prevent and relieve the suffering of animals in our care, and hospice care at home enables that purpose well.

I would suggest that interested pet owners read here for more details, about The International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care- they are US-based, and dedicated to promoting knowledge of, and developing guidelines for, comfort-oriented care to companion animals as they approach the end of life.

Dr Matthew, Homevet