As a pet owner, probably the most difficult decision you will have to make is regarding ‘euthanasia.’
This word translates to ‘gentle death’. It is when death is induced humanely by an injection.
All the staff at Clockhouse Veterinary Hospital will support you in the decision making process and encourage you to explore all the options available, but ultimately it should be what you want.
You can be assured that ALL the staff at the practice and crematorium will treat your pet with care and dignity.
We hope that this section will help you prepare for dealing with euthanasia and be helpful in the long run.
When is it time?
Your pet’s welfare and quality of life are the foremost factors. You also need to consider what is best for you and your family.
Some questions that can be used to judge this are;
- Is your pet eating?
- Is your pet comfortable?
- Does your pet still enjoy it's favourite activities?
- What is your pet’s good day/bad day ratio?
- Can your pet respond to you in the usual ways?
- Is your pet terminally ill?
- Is your pet critically injured?
- Is the financial or emotional cost of treatment beyond your means?
- Is your pet vicious/dangerous/unmanageable?
- What is your Veterinary Surgeons opinion?
Should I be present?
As with everything in this decision making process, it is your preference. If you come into the surgery we have a ‘quiet room’ away from the waiting area where you can spend time with your pet both before and after euthanasia.
You can stay during the procedure. We can take your pet from you and you can see them afterwards, or not, we will do as you wish.
We encourage our clients that are bringing their pets to the surgery to arrange for someone to accompany them/drive them.
If you would like your pet to be euthanised at home during surgery hours we can arrange for a Veterinary Surgeon and Veterinary Nurse to visit, but we need time to arrange this so it isn’t always possible. Again, whether you want to stay or not is your decision.
We encourage clients that choose a home visit to have a friend or family member with them.
Should children be present?
We discourage children under the age of 9 to be present during the euthanasia. We encourage you to discuss the euthanasia with all members of the family. We discourage the words ‘putting to sleep’ to be used with children. We have literature available to help children that have lost a pet, please make us aware if you require this.
How do I say goodbye?
The act of saying goodbye is an important step in managing the natural and healthy feeling of grief, sorrow and sense of loss.
Once the decision of euthanasia has been made, you and your family members may want to say goodbye to your pet. A last evening with your pet at home or a last visit to your pet at the surgery may be appropriate. Family members who want to be alone with their pet should be allowed to do so, farewells are never easy.
Making the appointment and coming to the surgery
When you telephone the surgery to make the appointment, please tell our receptionists that it is for euthanasia. We will then be able to make sure that you have a longer appointment, outside of busy hours.
If you would like to spend time with your pet in the ‘quiet room’ before your appointment, please arrive early and let us know.
We encourage prepayment from you, at the time the consent form is signed, to prevent paying after in the reception area. This allows you to leave when you are ready.
How is it performed?
Euthanasia is performed by the Veterinary Surgeon administering a drug intravenously into the vein. We will place a catheter into your pets leg before the procedure is performed.
You will be able to hold your pet whilst the solution is administered if you wish. With some poorly and/or older animals it may take a short time to enter their veins as they are very delicate.
Sometimes it is necessary to administer a sedative to relax your pet before the solution is given.
Usually immediately to twelve seconds after the solution has been injected the pet may take deeper breaths, grow weaker, and lapse into a state of irreversible unconsciousness, and then pass on from there. The pet may take a few more deep breaths and stretch out.
The Veterinary Surgeon will listen to the pet’s chest for a heart beat and administer more solution if necessary.
The Veterinary Surgeon will let you know when the pet’s heart rate has stopped and has passed away. You may still see small tremors and what look like gasps as the body runs out of energy.
Sometimes the pet will pass urine and faeces, this happens due to the muscles relaxing. The pet’s eyes will stay open after death.