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Euthanasia

Owning and taking care of our beloved pets come with huge benefits and life­changing positive moments, however it also comes with a responsibility towards the end of their lives.

Saying final goodbyes to our pets is one of the hardest things to do as we build unbelievably strong bonds to our pets. However, this is part of owning pets and deciding on euthanasia is one of the most important decisions pet owners will have to make regarding their pets.

You may have some queries regarding euthanasia, so the points below may answer your questions. If you still have any other questions please don’t hesitate to contact the practice.

Some Frequently Asked Questions...

How do I know if it’s the right decision?

Assessing quality of life in pets is very tricky, both for owners and clinical staff in the practice. Our pets cannot tell us how they feel and they often don’t show overt signs of discomfort. It is often kinder to euthanise pets with intractable conditions or ones that cause pain uncontrollable with medications. We recommend you have a consultation with your vet to determine the best way forward for your pet.

It is entirely natural to feel upset when your pet dies. After all, your pet is a beloved family member. Do not be embarrassed about showing your emotions – veterinary staff expect you to be upset. It takes time to get over the loss of a loved one and, although reactions differ, very often a mixture of feelings – sadness, loneliness and anger – can follow.

Try not to feel guilty or blame yourself – the decision for euthanasia is taken with your pet’s interests at heart to avoid suffering. Some people find themselves questioning whether they did the right thing. It is normal to feel some doubt, though this will ease in time.

How is euthanasia performed?

For dogs, cats and rabbits the vet will clip a small area of fur off the front leg (or ear for rabbits) while the nurse holds your pet. A spirit swab will be applied to the clipped area to help us see the vein more easily. The nurse will then ‘raise the vein’ by applying light pressure to your pet’s elbow (or ear). The vet will then inject an overdose of pentobarbitone anaesthetic into the vein. In most cases your pet will be asleep with a matter of seconds and all heart and brain activity will stop within another few seconds. At this point your pet has passed away but they will probably lay still for about 20 seconds but then they may twitch, take a few gasping breaths and empty their bladder and bowels. These are signs of death and normal, not signs your pet is fighting the drug. In very poorly animals there may be different events but the vet will discuss this with you.

We have the nurse hold your pet during euthanasia in most cases because in our experience this results in a very much more peaceful and relaxed experience for your pet.

For other animals we will often take them into a theatre and give them anaesthetic gas until they are asleep and then inject an overdose of anaesthetic into a major organ.

Is it best in the veterinary practice or at my house?

This is entirely your choice. It may be a comfort to you to see that euthanasia is usually a quick and gentle process, but try not to feel guilty if you feel unable to watch – if you are very upset then this may upset your pet. If you don’t stay and then just say so.

Will I stay while the euthanasia is carried out?

This is entirely your choice. It may be a comfort to you to see that euthanasia is usually a quick and gentle process, but try not to feel guilty if you feel unable to watch – if you are very upset then this may upset your pet. If you don’t stay and then just say so.

What happens to my pet afterwards?

You can are welcome to take your pet home to be buried but most owners choose to have their pet cremated. The standard cremation is a communal cremation where you do not get your pets ashes back. If you wish to have your pets ashes returned then this is something that we can arrange. There are several options you need to consider for ashes return but we will go through these with you at the time.

Contact us today to talk to one of our staff about preventative health care