What is Veterinary Hospice?
Veterinary Hospice is a family-centered service dedicated to maintaining comfort and quality of life for the terminally ill or geriatric pet until natural death occurs or the family elects peaceful euthanasia.
Hearing those dreaded words “nothing else can be done” does not mean that euthanasia is the only option you have left. Veterinary hospice care is a unique approach to your pet’s end-of-life needs. Extrapolated from human hospice, this specific type of veterinary care is focused on the comfort of your pet, not at finding a cure for his or her disease. It is appropriate if your pet has been diagnosed with an incurable illness or if further therapy options have been declined in lieu of comfort-oriented care.
Hospice care revolves around the client-patient-doctor relationship. Education about your pet’s medical condition is the most important aspect of hospice care, and it’s what Lap of Love veterinarians spend the most time on. We have informational sheets on many common diseases our companion animals suffer from located in the Education section of the Lap of Love website.
Veterinary hospice care usually includes, but is not limited to:
- Implementation of a hospice care plan for your dog or cat
- Education about the end-stage disease process and when humane euthanasia is the right option
- Assistance in the pain management regimen
There are many things that can be done at home to help your pet be more comfortable in the end-of-life stages. Visit the Education section of the Lap of Love website for more information. Many families also find it helpful to speak with others that have been through this difficult process. You may visit the Lap of Love Facebook page to read posts and view stories from other families as well.
Benefits of home euthanasia and hospice care:
- Scheduling is done based on you and your family’s convenience. Lap of Love offers appointments on weekends and afterhours.
- Your pet will be in their own surroundings and be less anxious.
- Your pet will be in their favorite location with common smells they are accustomed to.
- There is reduced stress for pets that are difficult to move.
- Other household pets can be present
- For families that wish to bury their pet, in-home service removes any difficulty with transportation.
- Your family can be left in peace afterwards to grieve
What are some ways I can honor my pet?
Honoring your friend is an important part of both the grieving and healing process. You have already been honoring your pet by giving him/her the best quality of life you could and that is what is most important. Here are some ideas as you near the end of your time together:
- Tell a story about the good times you shared together. On the Lap of Love website, you can place a memorial for your pet. You can send a message to your pet and talk about your pet’s life with you. Your friends and family can also visit the site and post a memorial as well.
- Make a memorial table with items that remind you of your pet, such as pictures, toys, a collar, a leash, favorite stick or mementos from various trips together. This can be a particularly useful when small children are in involved in the grieving process.
- There are many companies offering keepsakes such as jewelry, sculptures, paintings, etc.
- The Lap of Love face book page is also a great place to share your pet’s picture and story with others that truly care about what you’re going through.
- You can plant a tree in memory of your pet. This is also something nice to do with children.