The hardest goodbye

Making the decision to euthanase an animal is never an easy one, regardless of the circumstances. There are many reasons why a client may call us to arrange a euthanasia, and Totally Vets will respect that decision.

If we are uncertain about the circumstances, we may check with you that we are acting in everyone's best interests.  We are always willing to counsel clients through decisions and offer compassion in difficult times.  Some clients are worried about the euthanasia process and the purpose of this article is to demystify it, and show you the options that are available when you have made the decision to have a pet put to sleep.

In the simplest of terms, euthanasia involves administering a massive overdose of Pentobarbitone, an anaesthetic only used for this purpose, into the bloodstream. The animal becomes unconscious; the heart stops beating and breathing ceases. When brain activity stops, death occurs - usually before the injection is complete. Some animals will have muscle tremors, take big breaths, and as the muscles relax, some may pass urine and faeces. While sometimes the reflexes shown can be upsetting for some owners, the animal is swiftly unconscious and feels no pain. For most cats and some dogs, sedation is given prior to the final injection so that stress is minimised and giving the intravenous injection is easier.

Owners can choose to leave their animals with us for euthanasia, be present (with the support of friends and family if wanted) with their vet at the clinic, or if prearranged, a house-call can be made. We wish to treat all animals and their owners with respect and dignity whatever arrangement is made. At the Feilding clinic, we have a ‘quiet room' which allows for time to be taken as needed, before or after the euthanasia.

There are also several options for your pet's remains. If there is a suitable burial spot, many owners choose to take them home. We can also arrange cremation with or without ash return. For the return of ashes, there are many options offered including scatter-boxes for burial, wooden boxes, ceramic paw print moulds, laser blocks and a choice of engraved plaques. Cremations are carried out at Soul Friend Pet Cremations in Palmerston North.

If you would like more information on any aspect of this article, please give our friendly reception staff a ring at Feilding on 06 323 6161.  This service is available at our Feilding clinic only.