Hospice Care for Animals

In today’s society, more and more people are considering their pets to be family members. There are now veterinary specialists in many fields from surgery and rehabilitation, to radiation oncology. These specialists help to prolong the lives of our animal family members. There is now also a demand for veterinarians that can assist with end of life care…hospice care. Hospice care for animals is based upon the human hospice care philosophy, which began in England in the 1960’s. Hospice care is designed for animals with terminal illnesses, generally with less than 6 months to live. It is for families that have accepted their pet’s fate and are no longer seeking heroic measures (frequent vet visits, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, etc) to keep their pet alive. Instead of seeking quantity of life, they are seeking quality of life and quality of death. They believe that their pet should live with dignity and also die with dignity. These families are seeking more peaceful therapies during their pet’s final weeks and months

There are now some veterinary facilities that provide hospice care and hospice counseling. These facilities provide compassionate nursing care which supports the patient both physically and emotionally, as described in the hospice care philosophy. Choosing hospice care is never an easy decision to make and should be done in conjunction with your pet’s general practitioner and a hospice care veterinarian. Because hospice care is elected, it does not mean that you (or your veterinarian) are giving up on your pet. It is the means of providing care that changes. Instead of unpleasant treatments, more soothing natural therapies are chosen. Once the decision has been made to go with hospice care, it can bring a sense of relief to family members. The whole focus changes and the human family takes a more active role in their pet’s health care. This includes pain management, nutritional support, and love and affection. This approach allows families to share quality time with their animal companion and allows for building some wonderful memories. It also gives the family time to say good-bye, and to memorialize their pet.

For more information on hospice care for animals, hospice counseling, and hospice day care, please contact Dr. Kim Danoff at The Veterinary Holistic & Rehabilitation Center in Vienna, Virginia 703-938-2563.

Compliments of Dr. Kim Danoff Veterinary Holistic and Rehabilitation Center 703-938-2563

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