Because we deal with many emergency and highly medically stressed patients, the Veterinary Specialty Center of Delaware (VSCD) has considerable experience and heightened empathy for families handling end-of-life issues with their pets.
What kind of support is available for pets in end-of-life circumstances?
Many advances in veterinary medicine have resulted in better pain management options for pets in chronic health situations. From pharmaceuticals to acupuncture, nerve blocks, and laser therapy, options for keeping pets comfortable and mobile exist that can significantly improve quality and length of life. Our specialists will work with you in consultation with your family veterinarian to help you determine appropriate pain management for your pet.
How can I evaluate the quality of my pet’s life?
Evaluating if your pet is living a comfortable life or is suffering is not an easy determination to make and it is very subjective to the individual family and pet. Some of the questions others have used to help them assess a pet include:
- Is the pet’s pain manageable?
- Is the pet able to enjoy interactions with the family?
- Does the pet show an interest in his or her favorite activities?
- Can the pet get around well enough to handle bathroom functions?
- Is the pet having difficulty breathing?
- Can the pet take in enough food for proper nourishment?
- Does the pet show signs of confusion or loss of cognition?
Sometimes accommodations can be made for the family to support the pet in a few areas in which he or she is struggling, and this can allow the pet to continue to enjoy a quality life. Other times, the pet is experiencing difficulties in too many areas or with such severity that quality of life is greatly reduced.
The Pet Loss Support website has some excellent additional information to help pet owners in their difficult decisions.
What should I expect with the loss of my pet?
Throughout the loss of a pet, the Veterinary Specialty Center of Delaware remains supportive, understanding that families need time to find closure. Whether the family decides to euthanize the pet or the pet passes after struggling in treatment or surgery, our staff will gently lead the family through after care. Families can choose to take a pet home for burial or we offer cremation service through The Animal Soul Delaware Pet Crematorium.
How should I grieve?
Grieving over a pet is a unique experience for each person and there is no right or wrong way to get through it. We recommend you check our pet loss library for insights from grief experts and pet owners who have gone through similar experiences.
The Veterinary Specialty Center of Delaware hosts a tribute ceremony every year memorializing the precious pets that have been part of our clinic. If you would like to participate in this event, ask one of our compassionate staff for more information.