To save us from a difficult decision we all hope our pets will peacefully pass away in their sleep. Unfortunately, it rarely happens this way and we then have to discuss putting our pet to sleep (euthanasia) with our vet.
When carried out at the right time, euthanasia is the last act of kindness we can make for our pets and a real act of giving, but for many owners, the procedure is an unknown and therefore frightening prospect.
The following is intended as a guide to help you through the process of euthanasia and the aftercare options available. It is hoped that knowing what to expect at this sad time will make it slightly easier for you.
Where will euthanasia take place and who will carry out the procedure?
Euthanasia is usually carried out at the surgery or, if you prefer, in your own home and whenever possible we will try to ensure that you see the vet of your choice.
What happens when my pet is euthanased?
Our aim is to make the whole experience as quiet, gentle and peaceful as possible for both you and your pet.
The majority of owners find that staying with their pet helps them come to terms with the loss, or if you want to leave the room to reflect in our beautiful garden you are more than welcome, the decision is entirely yours.
We completely understand if you want to spend some quiet, private time with your pet afterwards; we will give you as much time as you need.
Occasionally your pet will be sedated prior to being given the euthanasia injection, although usually, this is not necessary as the procedure is very peaceful and painless on its own (if your pet has to be sedated there is a small chance that he or she may vomit but this quickly passes).
Euthanasia injections are usually given into a vein, so a small area of hair will be clipped from a front leg to allow us to see the position of the vein. A nurse will then hold the leg so the vet can make the injection. In cats that object to being held, alternative equally painless injection sites may be chosen to ensure a low level of stress for your pet.
Within a few seconds of giving the injection, breathing will stop followed by the heart stopping. The vet will monitor this very closely and inform you when this has happened.
What happens to my pet afterwards?
If you wish to you are very welcome to take your pet home with you to be buried. However, we work with a pet crematorium that provides a very respectful service and offers you a number of other choices, which are summarised as follows:
General Cremation: Your pet is treated in the normal respectful way and is cremated with other pets.
Individual Cremation: Your pet will be individually cremated and the ashes will be returned to you. These can be contained in a tasteful, disposable box for scattering or burying, or in a wooden casket that can be kept or buried.
Please ask the receptionist or nurse for a leaflet about these services and their charges.
You do not need to decide right away and if you need to think it over or discuss options with your family, we will keep your pet with us at the practice until you contact us with instructions.