Should other pets be present?
It’s completely up to you. The presence of other pets during the appointment is more than welcomed, however, if they are distracting to you or your pet it may be best to put them in another room. From a grieving standpoint, we do feel it is best if pets are given an opportunity to either be present during the appointment and/or see their companion after they are at peace. The majority of pets will be interested in what’s going on for the first few minutes, then they tend to go off to the side and relax. It’s almost predictable unless they are a puppy or hypervigilant breed. Cats tend to be more indifferent.
Should children be present?
This is a very personal decision. There are a lot of things to consider, such as the age of the child, the maturity of the child, will the child be a distraction to you, have they experienced death before, how do you think they will handle it? Children are more than welcome to be present for the appointment (Dr. Sandra has had more than a few toddlers try on her stethoscope) and we will be especially judicious in our choice of words so as to minimize any stress they may be feeling.
How long does an appointment last?
Typically appointments last between 30-60 minutes.
What can I expect during the appointment?
When the doctor arrives, she will meet you, your family, and your pet and answer any questions you have. The doctor will explain the sedation and euthanasia processes and answer any questions you may have about what to expect during the sedation and euthanasia. There is one consent form that will need to be signed in order to proceed with euthanasia (and aftercare if elected). There are two injections given, a sedative which includes anti-pain, anti-anxiety, and sedation medications which typically takes about 5-10 minutes, and an euthanasia injection which typically takes 1-2 minutes. Once your pet is at peace, the doctor will make a keepsake pawprint and then step outside to give you time to yourself. If you elect for assistance with aftercare, the doctor will return with a fresh, cozy blanket, basket with a fresh, cozy blanket, or hand-held stretcher with a fresh, cozy blanket, depending on the size of your pet, and will gently transport your pet to her car. For pets over 30# we may ask for assistance to ensure smooth transport to the doctor’s car.
What do I have to prepare for the appointment?
Really, nothing. Many people choose to give their pet a big, yummy meal or snack that day. For pets that are eating, this is absolutely encouraged, just make sure it’s not too rich and may make them nauseous. Some people choose to have a favorite treat ready for their pet to snack on, so if your pet may enjoy a special treat you are welcome to give that to them, especially at the time of sedation. We have blankets to use for transporting your pet, but if there is a special blanket you would like to have your pet laying on you can have that ready. Sometimes people have a special music playlist or slideshow playing during the appointment. You may also want to have a poem or prayer printed or written to share if that may interest you. If there is a family member who can’t be present for whatever reason, you are welcome to have them Facetime or Skype during the appointment so they are able to be “present”. Please don’t stress preparing for the appointment, you have enough on your mind. We will handle everything and make this as peaceful as possible for you and your pet.
Do I have to stay for the entire appointment?
You are welcome to stay for as much or as little of the appointment as you are comfortable. There have been many times where it was too difficult for a family to stay and it is just the doctor and the pet. Some people will stay for the sedation, then step out, or only be present for the euthanasia. If you feel it might be too difficult mentally or emotionally on you or a family member, it may be best to step out for part or all of the appointment. Whatever feels right to you is what you should do.
Is euthanasia painful?
There are typically two injections for the euthanasia procedure. The first is a sedative, which is a combination of anti-anxiety, anti-pain, and sedating medications. The reaction to this first injection is usually similar to them getting a vaccination or blood draw. We tend to give this injection very slowly and with a very small needle to minimize any reaction. If your pet is often vocal or wiggly for vaccines, they may do the same for the sedation. Additionally, pets with pain, especially chronic pain, often have wind-up phenomenon also known as central sensitization, and can be more sensitive to injections, even touch in general. There is typically no reaction to the euthanasia injection being placed in the vein. The euthanasia medication can, and often does, cause pets to take a few quicker, but peaceful, breaths, before their final exhale.
Why won’t my vet come to my home?
Sometimes people are looking for in-home euthanasia and are upset to find their regular veterinarian won’t come to their home. It’s not that they don’t want to be there, they would love to help your pet, it’s one of the beautiful aspects of general practice – getting to know your patient and their family, but logistically it can be very difficult to get away from the clinic for multiple hours, especially with little notice.
What do I do if I have an emergency?
⦁ We try our best to accommodate emergency appointments, but if we are unavailable please contact your regular veterinarian, local emergency hospital, or check www.inhomepeteuthanasia.com to see if there is another local service that may have availability.
Why should I euthanize in my home?
There are a number of reasons why in-home euthanasia might be right for your family. We see many patients who are in significant pain, especially mobility cases, and the thought of moving them, causing them more pain, is not something the family can bear to do. Many larger pets are difficult or maybe even impossible to get into a car to drive somewhere. We also see a fair number of kitties. It’s exceedingly rare to meet a cat that likes getting into a carrier, going for a car ride, walking into its vet’s office, and waiting. For these reasons, a lot of people choose to say goodbye to their kitty at home. The majority of pets get nervous going to the vet’s office and many of them shake or tremble. While this is a common reaction, many families don’t want to think of their family members being nervous or in an environment that makes them uncomfortable in their last moments. It’s important to note, there is nothing wrong with euthanizing in your vet’s office, and for some families that is the best choice. We just find that most pets and their families are more comfortable at home.
Who will show up to my home?
Dr. Sandra Simko is a licensed veterinarian who has been providing end-of-life services for over 6 years and has helped nearly 4,000 families say goodbye at home.
How can you do this all day?
Veterinarians go into veterinary medicine to help animals and we can’t think of a more beautiful way to help animals and their families than to give them a peaceful transition. We’re able to view euthanasia from the medical side. We can end suffering and many times prevent an animal from having to experience any suffering. We are able to empathize with families. We have been there and we know how hard it is. We are able to understand what a family is feeling, but don’t experience the same level of grief having not formed the memories they have with that particular pet (family member). There are few things as satisfying as having a person tell us they haven’t seen their pet so relaxed in weeks, after they’ve received the sedation, or that they themselves feel relieved knowing their pet is at peace. We truly view euthanasia as a gift and feel blessed to offer such a gift where the pet and their family are most comfortable.