Saying GoodbyeEnd of life care for your pets
The death of a loved pet is an event that all pet owners fear. All of our staff are here to help you deal with your loss. It often helps to talk things over with someone who has helped care for your pet. Please feel free to contact any of the branches and we will get someone to contact you. Most of us have also lost much loved pets and know from first-hand experience how hard it is to deal with the huge gap that bereavement leaves.
It is sometimes easier to discuss the available options and decide on what happens to your pet prior to requiring this service. This can help to reduce the stress and ensure that you are able to concentrate on the final moments with your pet. If you would like to do this please continue to read or please contact us and we will ensure that you have all of the information to make an informed decision.
Bereavement after losing a pet is commonplace and there are a couple of support options available to owners. The Ralph Site offers pet loss support with lots of useful information. The Blue Cross offers a Pet Loss and Bereavement Support Line on 0800 096 6606 every day from 8.30am – 8.30pm
Why do we euthanase pets?
We euthanise or ‘put to sleep’ pets either because they are in pain or their quality of life has deteriorated beyond an acceptable level. This decision is never an easy one. Sometimes, where perhaps treatment is not possible and your pet’s health is rapidly deteriorating, the decision is made a little easier by knowing we can help prevent any suffering. Other situations are less clear with some good days mixed with bad ones. Often it helps to talk about the situation with friends, family and the staff at the practice. As pet owners ourselves, we appreciate just how difficult this time can be. For more information on determining quality of life please click here.
Some pets do pass away quietly and painlessly at home. However, for the majority of our furry friends, the quality of their life deteriorates and they need veterinary intervention.
How is euthanasia performed?
Euthanasia involves the injection of a medication very similar to a general anaesthetic. Your pet will go to sleep and then pass away. Sometimes a sedation will be given first to help calm and relax your pet. The exact details of how the procedure is performed will be discussed fully on the day. You may decide to leave your pet with us or to stay with them. We will help you do whatever feels right for you, and you may stay for as long, or as short a time as you wish.
We are unable to offer home visits at present but if you wish for the euthanasia to be performed at home we suggest contacting The House Vet who offer home based end of life care. They can be contacted on 01626 353350 or 07515 283861
What happens to my pet’s body after euthanasia?
We treat all pets and wild animals with respect and our vet or nurse will discuss the options available to you:
The cremations are carried out by Meadow Wood a long established local company, based in Kingsbridge. We chose this company for their professionalism and compassionate service.
There are two options available to you.
This is an economical and straightforward option. Pets are taken from our surgeries to the crematorium. Several pets are cremated at the same time and, unfortunately, ashes cannot be returned following this service. The ashes are then scattered at Meadow Wood’s Garden of Remembrance. You are able to visit the Garden of Remembrance by arrangement with Meadow Wood. Some other local crematoria send their ashes to landfill which we feel does not offer the same level of respect.
Pets are cremated individually and as standard the ashes are placed either in a:
– Woven Scatter Pouch; which can be kept, buried or the ashes scattered in a special place
– Carved wooden casket.
More options regarding the vessel in which ashes are returned following individual cremation are available. There are additional costs for these alternatives so please do speak to the team if this is your wish. You can view the options on Meadow Wood’s website here.
Payment for individual cremations is required before your pet can be released for cremation.
You can opt to bury your pet at home or Meadow Wood can bury your pet at their Woodland Pet Cemetery and place a headstone if required. Before undertaking a home burial, remember the size and depth of the grave must be sufficient to accommodate your pet without the risk of disturbance from wild animals or future owners of the property. It is better to wrap your pet carefully in a biodegradable material, such as paper or a cardboard box.
All of our prices include collection and delivery fees where applicable as well as handling and mortuary storage fees. If you wish you can deal direct with Meadow Wood and transport your animal to them yourselves.
Please contact the Practice for costs of these options.
How to tell if my pet’s quality of life is being affected?
There are many components to a pet’s quality of life. we have listed some of the more important ones below. If you have any concerns about your pet please contact us so we can discuss the situation with you.
Long term on-going (chronic) pain can be difficult to detect. Animals with chronic pain rarely cry out loud. The signs to watch for include lethargy, loss of appetite, reluctance to exercise and a generally dull demeanour.
When pets feel well they eat well. If they feel ill or in discomfort, they may eat little or nothing. Any pet that is disinterested in food or drink, or has no appetite has a reduced quality of life and should be examined by one of our vets.
Most pets respond when we come in from work or a day out or enter the room. If you notice a change and your pet does not greet you or respond to you, it could signal serious illness.
Our pets, like us, prefer to be clean. Cats especially are keen to stay clean and are fastidious groomers. Matted coats or soiling of the coat or bedding, particularly in animals that have previously been clean, indicate a serious deterioration in quality of life.
Change in behaviour
Small pets (such as rats, gerbils and hamsters) may appear hunched or fluffed up, or may come out at unusual times if they are feeling ill. Any change from their usual pattern of behaviour could be a sign that their quality of life is not as good as it should be.