‘When is time?’ – Planning ahead
Making the decision to euthanase your beloved pet may be one of the most difficult decisions you will ever face.
We recognise the anguish and indecision; the ‘how will I know when it’s time?’ that owners go through. Indeed, ‘when it’s time?’ is the question we are asked the most.
Caregivers usually know their pet best, and naturally can be reluctant to euthanase their pet upon veterinary recommendations when they feel there is still quality of life present, or when seeking and hoping for improvement. We understand and respect this. At this same time, owner-caregivers are also conscious not to wait too long so that their pet is suffering. Indeed, the most common phrase I hear my clients say to me is “I don’t want him/her to suffer”.
When is time?
Each situation is unique.
Pet factors and your situation all matter when deciding “when is time?”
Pet factors include – the type of illness, stage of illness, how optimal the medical and home care is, how your pet is coping with their symptoms and whether they tolerate their care needs.
Your situation includes – your belief systems, previous experiences with the loss of other pets, your approach to continuing care at this stage of your pet’s illness (such as openness to further tests or in-hospital care), your ability to provide ongoing care at home, and your emotional ‘readiness’.
If there is more than one person making the decision, this situation can be even more challenging as different people have different viewpoints on ‘when is time’.
Ultimately, there is no definitive ‘best timing’ for euthanasia (except in cases of severe or sustained suffering), but rather a subjective time period in which euthanasia is appropriate. This subjective time period could be as long as months or as little as hours, depending on the illness and symptoms.
We are here to respectfully share, guide and support you with decision-making at this difficult time.
We offer pre-euthanasia consultations, when it is felt that the ‘time for euthanasia’ is quite soon – a matter of days or perhaps weeks – however you require further guidance on timing, and further support for your pet’s quality of life, ensuring he/she is kept as comfortable as possible for the time left remaining.
Sometimes a new patient of ours that was previously thought to be close to dying or needing euthanasia has gone on to live many weeks (and even months) longer than expected, with a good quality of life, because of the supportive and palliative care advice and programme that we provided at this time.
We also have clients that book a pre-euthanasia consultation because they want to ‘meet the vet’ who will be handling this most sensitive of all veterinary procedures.
Our Pre-euthanasia consultation is a 60 to 120 minute in-home consultation that includes:
– Review of current illness, symptoms and medications
– Quality of life discussion
– Guidance on “when is time” – according to factors relevant for you and your pet
– Enhancing pain relief and symptom control, so that your pet can be kept as comfortable as possible for the time remaining
– Guidance on avoiding a crisis and what to do if a crisis occurs, with out-of-hours support and back-up options.