Euthanasia Service and Resources
Allowing Our Pets to Have Dignity
We know the decision to euthanize a beloved pet can be one of the hardest decisions to make in life. When death cannot be avoided, euthanasia gives our animal companions the kindest and most pain-free pathway towards death. We view euthanasia as a service of compassion and respect for animals who are suffering, and we understand saying good-bye is never easy. It might feel like it is a decision that must be made alone. Our care team of animal-loving staff is here to answer your questions or concerns, and to discuss the options available to ensure your pet will have dignity and comfort in their final moments.
We use the word “pet” interchangeably to acknowledge and give respect to the many diverse types of furry, feathered, and scaley companions.
Determining Quality of Life: How will I know, “it’s time?”
Animals do not always show obvious signs they are sick or suffering.
Unfortunately, we cannot ask our beloved companions to tell us how they feel. This makes it difficult to know “when the right time is” and even harder to be objective when considering their well-being.
There are so many difficult emotions and memories involved in making a tough decision such as euthanasia. Utilizing a quality-of-life scale can help you see your companion’s health in several areas of well-being.
“The final punctuation mark at the end of the story isn’t the book itself–it’s just the way it ends. You have all those different chapters full of events, adventures, and maybe illustrations. They are the real book, not that last punctuation mark. And when we think of a book, we take it as a whole, not just its final bit.” - Mark Tyrrell
When Should You Use a Scale?
- Have you noticed a decline in your companion’s health?
- Do they have a terminal illness?
- Are they no longer able to do or enjoy the things they love?
- Have you and your vet discussed euthanasia or implementing a quality-of-life scale?
Tips to Guide You Through the Scale
- Complete the scale at different times such as every two weeks, once a month, or even every 3-6 months. You and your Veterinarian can discuss when the best times are.
- If you go out of town without your pet, complete the survey right before you leave and again when you come back. Sometimes when we are constantly with our pets, we miss gradual changes in their appearance and behavior.
- Keep track of their good and bad days on a calendar by drawing a symbol, smiley/frowning face, or simply writing a few words to describe how their day went.
- Save copies of completed scales to keep track of any changes and always reach out to your Veterinarian when concerns arise.
Quality of Life Scale (HHHHHMM Scale)
If you are concerned about your beloved companion’s quality of life, completing a quality-of-life survey can help you see the full picture of your loved one’s health.
Using a scale of 0 to 10 (0 = Unacceptable, 10 = Excellent), pets can be evaluated for their quality of life.
Adapted from Canine and Felina Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond, Villalobos A, Kaplan L-Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2007, with permission.
If you want to talk about your pet's quality of life, contact our veterinarians today.