Willow Veterinary Clinic Norwich
Preparing to say goodbye
When is the right time?
Sometimes it's difficult to know how our pet is really feeling. They can't tell us if they are in pain so it's our responsibility to look for signs of any changes that suggest their quality of life is deteriorating. You may notice your pet has become particularly withdrawn or quiet and doesn't want any physical contact or to go out. They may have stopped eating or drinking, and their toilet habits may have changed. An injury or illness may be affecting their wellbeing. To prevent further pain and unnecessary suffering it is important to talk through options with your vet who will help guide you on the right time for making a decision about euthanasia.
Should I be there?
Euthanasia may take place either at the veterinary surgery of at your own home, please discuss with your veterinary surgeon if you think a home euthanasia will benefit you and your pet. The euthanasia will be carried out by a vet, however a nurse will usually assist. A consent form will need to be signed, where you can discuss your options for what you'd like to do afterwards. Depending on the case, a sedative may be given to help your pet relax. A small patch of fur will be shaved from either the front or back leg and the injection will be gently administered into the vein. The injection itself is a concentrated anaesthetic and your pet will quickly lose consciousness before they stop breathing and their heart stops. If your pet is a small animal, such as a hamster or rabbit, the vet may give them anaesthetic gas first so they are asleep for the injection. Because these animals have smaller blood vessels, the injection may be administrated elsewhere. It is important to remember that your pet will lose consciousness almost immediately and will not be aware of anything.
What happens next?
When thinking about euthanasia you may want to consider keeping a small keepsake of your pet such as their collar or name tag, or a paw print. You may want to take your pet home to bury in the garden or use a pet cemetery. Another option is cremation. Pets may be cremated individually or communally with others. If you arrange to have your pet cremated individually you will have the ashes returned to you in either a casket to keep or a scatter pouch. A communal cremation means you will not be able to have your pet's ashes returned. We encourage you to ask your vet as many questions as possible about the options available, they are happy to help anyway possible.
Support for you.
It can be a time of mixed emotions leading up to and following euthanasia. Some people experience intense feelings of grief, similar to a human loss. Often people describe feelings of guilt or numbness over their loss and this is normal and understandable. For others, there is a sense of calm and relief. Sharing your feelings and experience with others before and after euthanasia can be helpful.
Pet Bereavement Support Service.
The Pet Bereavement Support Service is a confidential telephone and email support line service that offers emotional support and information for all ages.
0800 096 6606
The support line is open everyday from 8.30am - 8.30pm
(All information provided can be found on the blue cross website. www.bluecross.org.uk)
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