There are so many treatment options in veterinary medicine these days - we can choose cancer radiation treatments, joint replacements, kidney transplants for our pets - all quite successfully in the right cases.
But we as pet owners almost always outlive our pets, so we are repeatedly faced with making difficult decisions about their care and the lengths we will go to treat them.
So what do you do if you are facing a terminal disease for your pet, you have chosen not try to "cure" the disease and now you are seeing declining quality of life. The decision on whether and when to choose euthanasia is a difficult and personal one. You may be thinking you need to postpone it. Maybe you feel your pet still has more good days than bad. Maybe you want to make it until the next college break, or the end of a deployment. Maybe it's not a decision you are emotionally prepared to make. Veterinary hospice may be something you are considering.
I've written about veterinary hospice in the past, and while more and more veterinarians are offering hospice care programs, the truth is many pet owners have been providing basic hospice care for some time - home cooking, help getting outside, cleaning up after daily accidents. Doctors can prescribe pain control, appetite stimulants, fluids, etc., but whether your veterinarian gets involved or not, when you are providing end of life care for your pet, you need to think about three different budgets:
When any one of the three runs out, it’s important to acknowledge it's time to do something differently. As difficult as it will be to ask, find some help from a veterinarian, extra helping hands at home and/or a mental health professional.
You've got to balance the budget.
Mary Craig, DVM, MBA
Dr Craig is a mobile veterinarian with a house call practice focused on end-of-life care.