2001-Thu Jan 18 10:53:23 EST 2018
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
As loyal and loving companions, pets deserve the best care throughout their entire lives. This is especially important when their quality of life may diminish due to terminal illness or advanced age. Hospice and palliative care can help provide comfort and support for your pet in his final days.
Hospice and palliative care are often considered together. Hospice care allows a terminally ill pet to live at home and receive care, and helps pets near the end of life live comfortably and with dignity. Palliative care focuses on relieving pain and other disease signs, and allows the opportunity for treatment to enhance your pet’s comfort.
Palliative care can be accomplished in different ways depending on your pet's individual needs. Your veterinarian may prescribe a pain medication that’s best for your pet’s unique health status. Other strategies for relieving and controlling pain can include acupuncture, medical massage and various physiotherapy techniques.
Hospice and palliative care can also involve modifying your pet’s environment to address mobility limitations and improve hygiene and comfort. Hand-feeding, combing and nursing techniques, like emptying your pet’s bladder and cleaning urine or stool off your pet’s fur, are examples of day-to-day hospice care.
If you and your veterinarian determine that your pet's condition is no longer treatable, it may be time to consider hospice or palliative care. You may also consider beginning these supportive at-home care practices when your pet is being successfully treated for a condition but the end of his life is still approaching due to advanced age. Your veterinarian can help you make the decision as to when to start care.
Though most veterinarians assess your pet’s readiness for hospice and palliative care during an in-office visit, much of the actual caregiving can take place in your home — and some of it can be done by you. Some veterinarians also offer specific treatments, like acupuncture, in your home.
However, even though you might provide some care yourself, your veterinarian will stay involved. Your vet will need to periodically assess your pet’s health and circumstances and potentially provide updates and modifications to your pet’s pain-management plan. These assessments are typically best made in person.
At some point, your veterinarian may recommend euthanasia when your pet’s life quality becomes unacceptable. As hard as it is to think about, when your pet’s quality of life slips below a certain level, you may need to consider relieving him of his suffering. That level is different for every pet and pet owner, so you should thoroughly and honestly discuss your feelings with your veterinarian. It’s important that you be comfortable with whatever decision you reach.
More on Vetstreet:
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.