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Allow them to pass peacefully at home


End of life care

Knowing When It’s Time

Dekens Housecall Veterinary Service offers Full Service Palliative Care, Veterinary Hospice, Euthanasia and Bereavement Support



It is a given that during our lifetime that we will have to make the decision to say good bye to our pets. But how do we know when that time is? How do we decide what is needed? We are here to help you with these decisions, offer guidance and support and information.
 

Palliative Care and Veterinary Hospice-What is it?

What is palliative care and veterinary hospice?
  • Hospice palliative care is for pets that have been diagnosed with a terminal disease such as kidney failure, cancer, end stage arthritis, or congestive heart failure and focusses on management of symptoms and provide comfort until the time of passing.
  • Palliative care provides emotional support for you and your pet with a main goal to sustain the human animal bond. We provide this care in the comfort of your own home.
  • Veterinary hospice is about living fully until the end of life with dignity and in comfort.
  • Palliative care helps make a difficult life passage manageable and meaningful for both you and your pet while maintaining the bond between both of you.

A palliative care appointment is about the relationship between you and your pet
  • Your expectations of the coming weeks will be discussed.
  • You might feel some anxiousness about disease process and we will discuss with you the diagnosed disease, and explain what to expect.
  • We will go over the available options and decide on the best way to proceed in the time we have left.
  • You as the owner can steer what the palliative care will look like.

Quality of life – It is the most important measurement of the success of palliative care and veterinary hospice
  • We can generate an idea of quality of life by looking at your pet’s level of appetite, whether he/she is generally happy, what their mobility is like, whether they keep themselves clean, and whether they are in any pain.
  • A scale for quality of life was created for you to use: If you have a score of 20 or higher the quality of life is compromised. Changes in the current treatment plan should be made to improve your pets quality of life or euthanasia should be considered. This scale can empower you to keep track of your pets quality of life in a numeric value and more importantly to judge whether there is a decline in his/hers quality of life. We can discuss the use of this tool with you during our palliative care appointment. Additionally, you can track your pets “good” and “bad” days on your calendar. We can combine the calendar information with the quality of life evaluation to optimize palliative care.

How will you know it is time? One of the most frequently asked questions is: "Doc, how will I know it is time?"
  • As veterinarians, we can guide you through this decision making process.
  • It is important for you to weigh the options: Waiting too long might result in a last minute, stressful and painful situation for your pet. Making the decision before this stage is more difficult, but makes it possible to have a peaceful, in-home euthanasia with family and loved ones present. Prevention of suffering and pain is the main important factor in making the end-of life decision.

Euthanasia

Without a doubt, having your companion animal “put to sleep” or humanely euthanized is one of the toughest emotional decisions any pet owner can be faced with. We often see and treat our companion cats and dogs as members of the family and their loss is no different than losing a beloved friend or family member. Regardless of their age, their loss is always too soon.

Allowing them to pass peacefully at home gives you the opportunity to say your final goodbyes where your pet has spent its happiest years. Home euthanasia allows for the entire family, including other pets, to be present and assists greatly with the grieving process for everyone. Tears can be allowed to flow freely and the home environment allows for a safe place to respect and honor various personal and religious rituals.

CALL NOW TO LEARN MORE (403) 615-8016
 
  • Prior housecall and examination/consultation if needed to assist you in making the best decision
  • In home euthanasia of cats and dogs
  • Initial sedation and pain relief given by injection to ensure that the animal is fully unaware and pain free prior to the actual euthanasia injection
  • The actual euthanasia injection with a barbiturate overdose, preferably giving intravenously
  • An opportunity to say your final goodbyes
  • The option to have the pet cremated, either with a general or a private cremation
  • The option to have a private cremation where the ashes are returned to you in a scatter box or an urn of your choice
  • Paw prints or other keepsakes to help honour and cherish the memories of your pet


What is euthanasia?
  • The word "euthanasia" comes from the Greek language, in which "eu" means "well, good" and "thanatos" means "death". It means we intentionally intervene and end a life in a peaceful way to prevent suffering and pain.
  • Without a doubt having your companion animal “put to sleep” or humanely euthanized is one of the toughest emotional decisions any pet owner can be faced with and most of us share the hope that when death comes, it is peaceful and free of pain. Even though letting go is hard, it is a very compassionate act we can offer them when their little bodies and/or minds no longer can sustain any further enjoyment of life as they once knew it.
  • We offer in-home euthanasia. Allowing them to pass peacefully at home rather than in an unfamiliar and often scary clinic environment is preferable in many cases. Home euthanasia allows for the entire family, including other pets, to be present and it assists greatly with the grieving process for everyone. Tears can be allowed to flow freely and the home environment allows for a safe place to respect and honour various personal and religious rituals without the time constraints of clinic settings.
  • We would like to mention that even though we fully support euthanasia of end-of-life geriatric and terminally ill patients, we do not perform convenience euthanasia. This means we prefer to offer alternative solutions to animals that do not have major behavioural issues, or are not terminally ill.

What does a euthanasia appointment look like?
  • We can offer an examination and/or consultation if needed to assist you in making the best decision.
  • The process starts with an initial sedation and pain relief given by injection to ensure that the animal is fully unaware and pain free prior to the actual euthanasia injection.
  • Next, the actual euthanasia injection, a barbiturate overdose, is given intravenously.
  • You will be given an opportunity to say your final goodbyes.
  • There is an option to arrange payment beforehand in order to keep the appointment centred on your beloved pet.

What happens with my pet afterwards?

There are 3 options:
  • You have made personal arrangements and your pet will remain with you after the appointment.
  • Your pet can be cremated as a general cremation – this means your pet will be cremated together with other pets. We will arrange transport to the crematorium.
  • Alternatively, you can request to have a private cremation done during which your pet will be cremated separately and the ashes will be returned to you in a scatter bag or an urn of your choice. Again, we will arrange transport to and from the crematorium. For specific urns or other keepsakes, please visit: Pet Heaven.
We also offer paw prints or other keepsakes to help honour and cherish the memories of your pet.


Bereavement Support
  • We are able to offer personalized complimentary bereavement support counselling, because often see and treat our companion cats and dogs as members of our family and their loss is no different than losing a beloved friend or family member.
  • Darlene Vandevenne is a registered social worker with the Alberta College of Social Workers, with a Master's Degree in Social Work with a clinical specialty
  • Darlene has worked in counselling services for over 20 years, both at the Alberta Children’s Hospital dealing with disease management, chronic illness and death as well as many years providing mental health counselling services to adults and families alike through Alberta Health Services.
  • She will be there to assist you with understanding the grieving process, normalizing the experience of grief and loss and if necessary, connect you with other resources and groups to provide a community in which to share your experiences of loss.
  • For more information please contact us at: www.dekensvet.ca, info@dekensvet.ca or (403) 615-8016.

Helpful Links
  • "When Its Time to Say Goodbye" – by Dr Dirk Dekens, www.citizenpet.com/tag/home-euthanasia
  • The 5 stages of grief: http://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief
  • Citizen pet website www.citizenpet.com
  • Kali's Wish Foundation: http://kaliswish.org

Pet Memorials

The Rainbow Bridge

The Rainbow Bridge Just this side of heaven is a place called the Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to the Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigour. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together

Author unknown