Please note: We will be closed Monday, May 30th for Memorial Day.

Quality of life

Our team of professionals will provide the highest level of care to your pets.

Quality of Life

“Quality of life” is a phrase that may have been heard coming from your veterinarian or others close to you and your pet. But what does it mean exactly? It can be highly subjective due to a range of factors including your personal beliefs or perspective and certainly the wellbeing of your furry companion.

Just like us, every pet will process and react accordingly to changes they experience on a daily basis. Experiencing health issues or diseases will highly affect how they process such experience which is why active communication with your veterinarian are crucial. For example, the decision to euthanize a Yorkie with congestive heart failure will need to be made before painful symptoms (such as difficulty breathing) arise. Alternatively, an older Labrador with arthritis can be maintained at home with adequate pain management for an extended amount of time. It’s important to understand the disease process your pet is experiencing in order to properly evaluate the quality of life.

Below is a list of some of the most common factors that are taken into consideration when determining and evaluating the quality of life of your pet and what roles they play in the difficult decision for euthanasia.

Pain
Even though our furry family members might not express pain in the same ways we do, that doesn’t mean they don’t experience it. Identifying signs of pain in our pets is vital to providing them with timely and appropriate care before further complications arise. Common signs of pain in cats and dogs: pacing, excessive panting, hiding in unique areas, not seeking interaction with family, growling, snarling, snapping, immobility, whining, not eating, flinching when touched.
Incontinence
Incontinence, also known as the lack of voluntary control over urination or defecation, is an issue in pets that can lead to bed sores or eventual systemic infection if left unkempt. As frustrating as it is to have your pet be incontinent, it can be a sign of anxiety, stress, or underlying health issues. If incontinence persists, we recommend contacting your veterinarian for further information.
Happiness
Much like you can tell when something is a little off with a close family member, signs of reduced or increased happiness amongst our dogs or cats can be just as apparent. Whether you notice a decrease in energy, loss of appetite, or constant tiredness, these may all be signs that your pet is experiencing a dive in “quality in life.” It’s vital to note changes in the household environment and routine to better understand the factors leading to changes in happiness.
What about a natural death?
Yes, there are those pets that peacefully fall asleep and pass naturally on their own, but just as in humans, this type of peaceful death is rare. Many owners fear their pet passing alone while others do not. Occasionally we are asked to help families through the natural dying process with their pet. For different reasons, these families are against euthanasia. We explain everything we possibly can, from how a natural death may look, how long it may take, what their pet may experience, etc. Inevitably, almost all of these families regret doing this. Most of them comment afterward “I wish I would not have done that, I wish she didn’t have to suffer.” A natural death can be difficult to watch, especially for non-medically oriented people. Most people can watch a human family member in pain much more easily than they can their pet. To an extent, we can talk to other humans through physical pain or discomfort, but there is no comforting a pet that is suffering. Families take this guilt difficultly and we do our very best to not only readily suggest euthanasia when appropriate, but prepare families for a “worst-case” scenario should they chose to wait. (Of course, death is nothing to be fearful of and if your pet does happen to pass on his or her own, it is certainly not a bad thing; it happens in nature frequently!)
Appetite
Having a healthy appetite is vital to keeping your body in a healthy state. If you notice your dog or cat has a decreased or minimal appetite, it can be an early warning sign of underlying health issues. Short-term solutions include using appetite stimulants; however, we recommend contacting a veterinarian immediately if the problem persists.
Mobility
As our pets continue to age, signs of arthritis and mobility issues can become more apparent. These signs first become evident when pets begin pacing around the house, typically at night. If their condition worsens, it can progress into constant falling, inability to stand upright, inability to urinate or defecate, and heavy panting. As pets age and cases of arthritis become more severe, anxiety may begin to affect them. Anti-inflammatories or related medications can provide relief; however, if they seem to lose efficacy, then “quality of life” can be affected.
Waiting Too Long
The more times families experience the loss of a pet, the sooner they make the decision to euthanize. Pet parents experiencing the decline or terminal illness of a pet for the first time will generally wait until the very end to make that difficult decision. They are fearful of doing it too soon and giving up without a good fight. Afterward, however, most regret waiting too long. They reflect back on the past days, weeks, or months, and feel guilty for putting their pet through those numerous trips to the vet or uncomfortable medical procedures that did not improve their pet’s quality of life. The next time they witness the decline of a pet, they are much more likely to make the decision at the beginning of the decline instead of the end.
Weigh Your Options Carefully
If the most important thing to you is waiting until the last possible minute to say goodbye to your baby, you will most likely be facing an emergency, stress-filled, suffering condition for your pet. It may not be peaceful and you may regret waiting too long. If a peaceful, calm, loving, family-oriented end of life experience is what you wish for your pet, then you will probably need to make the decision a little sooner than you want. Making that decision should not be about ceasing any suffering that has already occurred, but about preventing suffering from occurring in the first place. Above all, our pets do not deserve to hurt.
We are here to help make this time a bit easier on everyone. We are aimed at maintaining comfort, quality of life, and the human-animal bond for as long as needed; we are here for you!

End of Life Services

Currently, we offer cremation services, to learn more about it, click here.