As pet owners ourselves, the veterinarians and staff of VCA Desert Inn Animal Hospital understand the difficulty in making end-of-life care decisions for pets. They are our family members, and the special bond between pets and the families that love them is powerful and comes with a unique set of responsibilities.
How do I evaluate my pet’s quality of life?
Balancing the different factors in a pet’s quality of life is unique to each pet and family. For example, while mobility may be very important for a large breed of dog, a smaller dog may still have good quality of life being less mobile as long as the owner can provide the required support. The veterinarians of VCA Desert Inn Animal Hospital will offer guidance without pressure as pet owners consider their pet’s condition. Some of the factors to consider include:
- Mobility - Can the pet move well enough to handle bathroom functions? Are they able to enjoy their favorite activities? Can they sit or lie down without collapsing? Is the discomfort in mobility able to be treated with pet medication or therapy?
- Pain - Determining if your pet is in pain can be a challenge. The veterinarians of VCA Desert Inn Animal Hospital will help you recognize the signs that your pet is uncomfortable and will help you with a pain management protocol. Some questions to ask yourself include: Is the pet in persistent pain? Can the pain be managed with pet medication or therapy? Is the discomfort keeping your pet from enjoying his or her favorite activities?
- Appetite - Can your pet eat and consume enough food to get the needed nutrition? Does the pet have to be coaxed to eat? Does the pet vomit up the food? Would dental care correct the eating difficulties?
- Breathing - Our veterinarians will help you recognize the signs that your pet is struggling with breathing, but common signs include panting or using the stomach or flanks instead of chest muscles to breathe. Sometimes the difficulty is due to a treatable medical condition such as allergies or infection, but sometimes it is an indication of a larger concern such as cancer or heart conditions.
- Happiness - Does the pet still take pleasure in his or her favorite activities? Does he or she still enjoy favorite toys and foods? Can modifications be made in the family activities to allow the pet to continue to be active? Is the pet still happy to see family members?
How is Pet Euthanasia Handled?
When a family decides it is time to euthanize a pet, every effort is made to offer a calm environment for the pet and pet owners. Pets are handled in the most gentle and respectful manner throughout and following euthanasia. Pet owners and family can be present for the procedure and are given the time they need before and afterwards with their pet.
Families have the option of taking the pet home for burial or we offer the burial and cremation services of Craig Road Pet Cemetery.
If you have any questions about your pet’s quality of life or the services o fVCA Desert Inn Animal Hospital, please contact our compassionate staff and veterinarians.