End-of-Life Care


End-of-life care encompasses several life stages that all of our pets will journey through, in one form or another. These include the senior years where pets enjoy a slower paced life, but still may have many good months or years. For some, there is the unfortunate development of a terminal illness that will eventually lead to death. Sometimes intervention during this stage can provide improved comfort and quality of life that enables more time with our beloved companions. And then finally there is the active stage of dying, at which point we either choose a natural death for our pets or we decide that a humane and peaceful euthanasia is the right decision.

Senior and Geriatric Pet Care

As pets enter the “Golden Years” of life, it can become stressful and difficult to transport them to their regular veterinarian. If they are large breed dogs, they may have great difficulty getting up, may slide on tile or hardwood floors and simply may not be able to get into a vehicle. Small animals may become scared as their senses of sight and hearing become compromised with age. By coming to you during this stage of your pets life, we can help assure that your pet has the medical attention as well as the routine wellness care needed to provide good quality of life for as long as possible.

Please see “What to Expect” and “Wellness Care for Seniors” for details.

Palliative and Hospice Care

As with human hospice, pet hospice aims to meet the physical and emotional needs of a pet nearing the end of natural life or with a terminal illness. It also strives to support the family at this difficult time. Hospice functions on the principle that death is a part of life part of the journey we all must take. Our goal is to allow this journey to be pain-free and with improved quality of life until the time comes to pass with dignity.

Hospice is a new and growing field within veterinary medicine and Dr. Craig is devoting time to learn and study techniques via a newly developed Certification Program with the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC). The goals of this organization and this certification program is to promote comfort care that addresses the physical, psychological and social needs of animals with chronic and/or life-limiting diseases. It also supports the physical, emotional and spiritual support for caregivers.

If you have an elderly pet struggling to get up and get around, or a pet that has been diagnosed with a terminal illness that has already entered into a hospice scenario, but you are finding it difficult to get them into your regular vet for continued care we are happy to help you. Please see What to Expect for details.

Our goal is to support you and your family through the natural ups and downs of this stage of your pet’s life. Eventually the hospice stage will transition to the point of natural death or euthanasia. We are here to help you with this transition and may refer you to professionals to help where we cannot.

Euthanasia

This step in end-of-life care is both a blessing and a burden. For most people, it is one of the most difficult decisions they will face with their pets. It is equally one of the kindest gifts we can give to our beloved pets whom are uncomfortable and debilitated. Once an owner accepts that the pet has lost its joy in life and may be crossing the line to suffering, the decision to let go can lift an immense burden from one’s shoulders. We will help you to decide that the time as arrived and guide you through the process of your pets passing.Please see What to Expect for details.

**Please Note: In general we will not perform euthanasias when the animal is healthy but no longer wanted. This is sometimes termed a convenience euthanasia. There are many options in the community for placing such animals. However, there are sometimes situations, such as severe behavioral problems or unresolvable medical conditions, for which euthanasia becomes the only viable option. We are happy to discuss such scenarios during an exam/consultation visit to explore options. In some cases we may be able to refer you to a behaviorist or other specialist, to attempt resolution of the problem first.

Aftercare

We have partnered with Pet Passages of Melbourne to provide cremation services. They are national leaders in the growing area of pet cremation and strive to offer the respectful care our pets deserve, regardless of whether you choose to have your pet’s ashes returned to you. They offer viewing opportunities as well as memorial services in a dedicated area of their facility. They also have many display items that enable you to memorialize your pet’s life. And if you are struggling with the loss of your pet, they will offer grief counseling.

Many people choose to lay their pet to rest at their home. We recommend that you check with your local city ordinances to assure there are no restrictions. Also, consider if you do not own your home, or if you may relocated if you want to leave your pet behind should you one day move.

Want to know what to expect on your end-of-life care visit? Click here.

End-of-Life Pet Care Resources

At Outback Mobile Vet, we treat your pets like the valued family members they are.

Call us at (321) 848-1338

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