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Nanaimo Veterinary Hospital

Time to say Goodbye?

Nanaimo Veterinary Hospital staff strive to make the euthanasia process as painless as possible for both you and your beloved petEuthanasia - it's a word that no one likes to hear or say, but it is a word that comes up on a daily basis at a veterinary hospital. Nor is it a fun topic to write about, but we have had several of our clients suggest that they would appreciate an article about end of life decisions and procedures.

One of the more common questions we hear is, "How do we know when it's the right time?" Unfortunately, as is often the case with any difficult decision, there is no definitive answer. Each patient, caregiver, illness and situation is unique, so it's not as though we can say, "when your dog turns 12, start preparing yourself to say goodbye." Some dogs and cats can live happily into their late teens, while others (particularly large-breed dogs) are lucky to make it into the double digits.

The most important factor to consider when the time to discuss euthanasia comes is quality of life. Dr. Andy Roark wrote an excellent article, which goes into greater detail about measuring and tracking quality of life.  You can view the article in its entirety here. A general rule of thumb, though, is that good days should outnumber the bad. While euthanasia is difficult for all involved, it is also a gift that we can give to our most dear friends by ending any pain and suffering they may be experiencing.

One thing that can make the final days easier is to discuss your euthanasia plans with your family and with your veterinarian ahead of time. Which, if any, of your family members want to be present for the procedure? Do you want your pet's ashes returned to you? These decisions are much easier to make before the emotionally charged final visit.

Of course, if you have any questions about your pet's quality of life, the euthanasia process or anything else, please call and speak with your veterinarian or a member of the veterinary support staff.



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