Euthanasia and Bereavement
A Gentle Goodbye
It is difficult to imagine a life without our beloved pets. We would like to think that they will always be with us. We hope our pets will gently pass away in their sleep as it would save us from having to make a very difficult decision.
Unfortunately, it rarely happens this way and therefore we have to discuss putting our pet to sleep (euthanasia) with our vet. Euthanasia, when carried out at the right time, is one of the last acts of kindness we can do for our pets, but for many owners the procedure is an unknown and therefore frightening prospect.
The following is a guide to assist you through the process of euthanasia and the aftercare options available. If you need to speak to someone, please contact the hospital on 01452 543 990
When is it the right time?
This is a common question to which there is no easy or correct answer. Every situation is different and it will be a decision made by careful consultation between yourself and your vet.
Where will the euthanasia take place?
The euthanasia can be carried out at the hospital or, if you prefer, in your own home. If you wish to visit the hospital with your pet we have a bereavement room with a separate entrance for you to have privacy before and after the euthanasia.
If you prefer a home visit we will arrange a mutually convenient time
Will I be able to stay with my pet?
Of course. Most owners wish to remain with their pet. It is your choice and the decision of whether or not to stay is ultimately yours, but it may be nicer for your pet if you are present.
Even if you do not stay you can see your pet, and spend some time with him or her afterwards if you wish.
What is the procedure?
The veterinary surgeon will fully explain the procedure to you. Sometimes a small sedative is given before your pet is put-to-sleep. The euthanasia itself is done by an injection into a vein so a small area of hair will be clipped from a front leg in order to visualise this.
A nurse will then hold the front leg assisting the vet performing the injection. Within a few seconds of injecting the medicine, breathing will cease, followed by the heart stopping. The vet will monitor this closely and inform you when this has happened.
Our aim is to make the whole procedure as quiet and gentle as practically possible for both your pet and you.
What happens afterwards?
There are three choices after your pet has passed away:
1) You may take your pet home with you for a burial.
2) Routine cremation: In this case your pet would be cremated at Limekiln Farm (www.limekiln-farm.co.uk) who run a professional pet cremation service.
3) Individual Cremation: Individual cremation – ashes are returned in a wooden casket with a brass plaque as standard – see more here www.limekiln-farm.co.uk.
What about me, how will I feel?
Everyone is different and we all react differently in this situation. Most of us find the loss of our pets difficult to deal with. The depth of feelings can take us by surprise and can almost overwhelm us.
Be assured that the way you feel is perfectly natural, that it is normal to grieve for a loved one – human or animal.
Is there anyone I can talk to?
You may find that it is difficult to talk to friends and family about your loss. Not everyone can understand how you feel and you may feel isolated and lonely. If you want to talk to someone please do not hesitate to contact the hospital to talk to our Pet Bereavement counsellor Jo Brierley on 01452 543 990