Palliative Care for your Pet

Great Article from Pet Wellbeing.

As a holistic practitioner I see a lot of senior pets in my practice. This is another good example of  Eastern, Western and Holisitc Vets and practitioners working together to create the best quality of  life for owners and their beloved pets

Over the last few years the demand for palliative care and hospice care for pets has been growing. Pets are now considered family members not just pieces of property. Veterinary medicine has changed and progressed to include many new procedures and therapies that once were only seen in human medicine. As veterinary care has improved, our pets have come to live longer and better lives. This means, however, that there are many more senior pets. Older pets tend to have complex medical problems. They suffer from chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis, kidney disease, and diabetes. They lose their vision, hearing, mobility, continence and cognitive functions just like their human counterparts. For some of these conditions there are treatments and for others not. Ultimately our pets will come to the end of their lives. This is difficult for many owners and even veterinarians to face.

The Animal Hospice movement was born out of the need to offer animal guardians a solution other than immediate euthanasia for terminal conditions. The International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care came into being in 2008. The mission statement for this group is “dedicated to promoting knowledge of, and developing guidelines for, comfort-oriented care to companion animals as they approach the end of life.”

Providing palliative or hospice care for your aging animal means taking into account pain management, nutrition, mobility and the mental state of your animal. For many of these patients, especially cancer patients, pain medications, steroids, nutrition, acupuncture, acupressure and herbal therapies can be combined so that the pet lives out the remainder of his or her life as happy and comfortable as possible. This does not mean there is never a time for euthanasia but it does mean that many times senior pets can still have good quality of life for the time they have left. Hospice care really means living life fully until the time of death.

End of life issues are difficult to deal with, and we miss our pets when they are gone, but we owe to them to see that they can spend their final days with dignity, surrounded by the people they love.

For more information on Animal Hospice visit