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Pet Euthanasia. When is it time?

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Perhaps the kindest thing you can do for a pet that has been extremely ill or so severely injured that it will never be able to resume a life of good quality is to have your veterinarian induce its death quietly and humanely through euthanasia. Your decision to have your pet euthanized is a serious one, and is seldom easy to make.{{more}}

What should I do?

Your relationship with your pet is special, and you are responsible for your pet’s care and welfare. Eventually, many owners are faced with making life or death decisions for their pets. Such a decision may become necessary for the welfare of the pet and your family.

A decision concerning euthanasia may be one of the most difficult decisions you will make for your pet. Although a personal decision, it need not be a solitary one. Your veterinarian and your family and close friends can help you make the right decision. Consider not only what is best for your pet, but also what is best for you and your family. Quality of life is important for pets and people alike.

How do I know when?

If your pet can no longer experience the things it once enjoyed, cannot respond to you in its usual ways, or appears to be experiencing more pain than pleasure, you may need to consider euthanasia. Likewise, if your pet is terminally ill or critically injured, or if the financial or emotional cost of treatment is beyond your means, euthanasia may be a valid option.

Your Veterinarian understands human attachment to pets and can examine and evaluate your pet’s condition, estimate its chances of recovery, and discuss potential disabilities and long- term problems. He or she can explain medical and surgical options and possible outcomes. Because your veterinarian cannot make the euthanasia decision, for you, it is important that you fully understand your pet’s condition. If there is any part of the diagnosis or the implications for your pet’s future you do not understand, ask to have it explained again. Rarely will the situation require an immediate decision, and usually you will have some time to review the facts before making one.

What if the animal is healthy?

Euthanasia might be necessary if a pet has become vicious, dangerous, or unmanageable. Some undesirable and abnormal behavior can be changed, so it is important to discuss these situations with your veterinarian.

Economic, emotional, and space limitations or changing lifestyles also may cause an owner to consider euthanasia for their pet. Sometimes, it is possible to find another home for the pet and that option should be pursued prior to opting for euthanasia. Euthanasia should be considered only when alternatives are not available.

How do I tell my family?

Family members usually are already aware of a pet’s problems. However, you should review with them the information you have received from your veterinarian. Long- term medical care can be a burden that you and your family may be unable to bear emotionally or financially, and this should be discussed openly and honestly. Encourage family members to express their thoughts and feelings. Even if you have reached a decision, it is important that family members, especially children, have their thoughts and feelings considered.

Children have special relationships with their pets. Excluding or protecting children from the decision making process because they are thought to be too young to understand may only complicate and prolong their grief process. Children respect straightforward, truthful and simple answers. If they are prepared adequately, children usually are able to accept a pet’s death.

To be continued next week.

For further information, contact: Dr. Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.
Tele: 456 4981
Website: www.uniqueanimalcare.com

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