Our animals are our teachers. When they get sick and their health changes we should learn from them and find better ways to care for the health of ourselves and our human family. When the time comes for pet parents to make a decision on euthanasia it is one that takes deep thought and caring concern. The family needs to come together as a team with their veterinarians to decide if the time to do this is appropriate. They need to look at all care options and why the ending of this family member’s life has to happen.
With cancer affecting 46% of dogs and 39% of cats, the life expectancy of our small animal companions is approximately 1/7th to 1/5 of our lifetime. Eventually, sadly animals will finally die in our care. The loss is emotionally painful and some people have said “It can be more painful then the loss of some humans.” in that person’s life. Those of us who love our animals want to try anything that is within our means to try to give more quality time with our animal friends.
Keeping the animal as healthy as long as you can, to begin with will hopefully keep the animal healthier for a longer time. As an integrative veterinarian we have so many good options in healthcare. Such as having fewer vaccinations, more natural organic raw foods, less pesticides, chiropractic, acupuncture, and natural herbal or homeopathic remedies. With these we truly hope to give pets longer, healthier lives.
When you go to a conventional veterinarian they have maybe one or several choices to use when seeing if they can help you and your animal companion. These will usually include surgery, antibiotics, non-steroidal or steroidal drugs, chemotherapy and other pharmaceuticals. But when you go to an integrative veterinary facility, all those options are considered. Additionally, you have so many more ways that might make a difference in your decision to treat an animal, or use that decision to euthanize.
In tough economic times some people have resorted to euthanasia because they cannot afford the treatment option that have been offered. Expensive diagnostics can help the veterinarian see more of the issues that may be affecting the animal but the cost of those may prevent the family to try to treat anyway. With having other treatment modalities that are a lot less costly then MRI’S and CAT scans and expensive surgical options, they may be able to delay that euthanasia and give quality time instead of accepting only the euthanasia as an answer.
When a family gets the recommendation of euthanasia finding another option is also your choice. You can get a second opinion, finding an integrative veterinarian who may have access to other alternative and integrative modalities could save your pets life or possibly give them more quality loving time.
Hospice for pets is another choice for families. With the support of professional hospice providers you can comfortably assist and give your animal companion the ability to die in her/his own time and space. No one wants anyone to suffer, so if the animal is in pain and painfully struggling then intervention should be part of humane care. When pet parents do not want to try anything further to treat an animal that has had a diagnosis of a terminal illness, they may not be aware that there may be other ways to give that family member additional valuable time, and teach their family something more.