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End-of-Life Care

Pet Euthanasia & Support for End-of-Life Care

Saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy. At Ingersoll Animal Hospital, we personally understand how hard it is to lose a pet. Each one of us has experienced the same with our own furry family members. That’s why it’s so important to us that we are there for you in your time of need.

Our end of life care is designed to provide assistance and support through your pet’s final days, whether you’re caring for a terminally ill pet or you’re struggling with those emotional end-of-life decisions we all must face as pet parents. We will help you make the best choices for your family and make those final moments with your loved one as peaceful as possible for you both. We want you to know that you’ll never be alone.

Choosing Euthanasia

(An excerpt from “Euthanasia: The Most Painful Decision,” by Moira Anderson Allen, M.Ed.)

Euthanasia comes from the Greek language with the literal meaning of “good death.” In veterinary medicine, we refer to euthanasia as the “act of inducing death in a calm and easy form, without stress or pain … [it refers to] death with compassion, [and] includes understanding, kindness, tenderness, mercy, love and the most important thing, companionship

(Frid, M. H. and Perea, A. T. [2007]. “Euthanasia and thanatology in small animals,” Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 2, 35–39).

Often, we can accept the reality of the loss, but being the actual agent of that loss – being the one who must decide when, where and how the death will occur – is beyond our ability. Since euthanasia is not practiced in human medicine, we have no frame of reference or experience with this choice.

Important Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What is my pet’s quality of life? To help owners determine the success of their home “hospice care,” we recommend owners rate their pet’s quality of life weekly with Dr. Alice Villalobos’ Quality of Life Scale .If the total number begins to decrease, this may be a sign that the end is nearing.
  • Do I have the financial means to provide for ongoing, long-term treatment?
  • Do I have the emotional resources to cope with caring for a chronically sick or terminally ill pet?
  • Is my relationship with my pet changing because of the illness?

Important Questions to Ask Your Veterinarian

  • Again, what is my pet’s quality of life?
  • Is there a reasonable chance for recovery, cure or comfort?
  • Can I be present for the euthanasia?
  • Can I choose not to be present for the euthanasia?
  • What will happen during the euthanasia process?
  • If I choose euthanasia, what options do I have for my pet’s remains?

At Ingersoll Animal Hospital, we offer three options:

  • You may take your pet home for a private burial.
  • We can help you arrange a private cremation for your pet with its ashes returned to you.
  • We can handle your pet’s remains for you, which involves a communal cremation.

We also offer a Clay Paw Impression of your pet’s paw print if you would like to take home a lasting memory of your pet.

Our staff members are pet owners too and, therefore, all of us understand the bond you share with your animal companion and the difficulty of losing a cherished pet. Rest assured that we will do everything possible to help you through this difficult time and will be available to talk to you about the euthanasia process before you come in for the service, so that you understand ahead of time what to expect.

If it is possible, we recommend that you call ahead to either schedule an appointment for euthanasia or to let us know you are on your way in so that we can be prepared for your arrival. If you have questions about euthanasia, please call us at 515-274-3555. Remember – you’re not alone. Help is just a phone call away.