The euthanasia consult

On the day we are arriving as friends. It is our privilege to help you at this most difficult time. We have visited other families many times over so do not worry about hosting us-all your attention will be, understandably, on your companion.

Please expect the euthanasia consult to take anything from an hour to up to an hour and a half. We will be guided by you. If we sense that you would like the appointment to run a shorter course we will do our best. If you wish to take more time we have allowed for that also. Our priority will always be your companion’s comfort. You may be present with us for your pet, or not, moving to another place on your property at the start or part way through the procedure if wished. The choice will always be yours.

We follow the American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines avma.org for the euthansia consult as we firmly believe this offers the best for you and your pet. We will always use two steps to bring comfort prior to your pet’s passing: sedation (with analgesia), then anaesthesia. Sedation is most often by injection under the skin-no different to how we administer a vaccine. Occasionally, if we feel it better for your pet, we may give this sedation gently in to the muscle over their back. If you feel your pet may be very anxious we can discuss in advance dispensing oral medication, either from ourselves or from your primary care vet, to be given the night before or on the day of the appointment to put your pet in a relaxed state even ahead of the sedation. We will ask in advance if there is any area especially sore for your pet, or any area they dislike being touched. Please remember that if your companion reacts at all to administration of the sedation (and some will be feeling a little more delicate at this time) it is always followed by a period where we discretely withdraw to observe. This lets you have quiet time with your friend whilst they become sleepy. You can fuss them and feed them as wished. This can be a treasured time. A lot of caregivers comment that this is the first time in a while where their pet has truly been able to relax because of their health condition. Or if your pet could be a bit aloof at times, this allows for closeness.

After 10-15 minutes we will move to give your pet an anaesthetic, again by injection. Dogs are often deeply asleep at this point, cats calm and sleepy. We will ask you to sit for a further 5-10 quiet minutes with your friend while they ease in to a deep and comfortable slumber before we ask permission to move forward and let them pass. We will do this only when you feel ready.

We will always talk you through the procedure. We are good at understanding how much or how little you might want us to communicate on the day. If observed, we will talk you through the patterns of natural dying-the changes in breathing, the little movements. No passing is the same- all pets are individuals and in that respect a passing is similar to being born-but we understand what we see and we will make sure you do too. None of it is scary when you understand. We recognise that many people are anxious because what is a natural process is no longer familiar to us. We can explain so you can feel at ease.

If you wish to know more about what to expect beyond this point please read the following page thehousevet.co.uk/the-euthanasia-procedure

We will let you know when your pet has passed. At this point you can have all the time you need. If you have chosen to have a keepsake made, we can arrange this. If you want time to sit with your friend, please take it. If you want us gone to start your grieving, we understand. Again we will follow your cues.