Making the Decision to Euthanize Your Pet
The term euthanasia comes from the Greek words "eu" and "thanatos" which combined means "dying well" or "good death". Despite the term, the decision to euthanize your pet is often difficult and overwhelming. If you believe that your pet has a terminal disease that has progressed to an end stage, has health problems that have deterioated rapidly, or has a life threatening injury, talk to your veterinarian as early as you can about your pet's health, treatment options, and prognosis. You will want to consider your pet's quality of life, your pet's level of discomfort, and his/her ability to do the things that were once enjoyed. Sometimes, though, it seems like the decision needs to be made immediately, especially if your pet has a terminal illness that suddenly worsens. Guilt sits heavily on the one who must decide to euthanize their pet. The fundamental guideline is to do what is best for your pet, even if you suffer doing it. Feelings of guilt and remorse are common, but it is important to remember that, as caregiver, the decision to euthanize is often the kindest and most unselfish decision you can make for your sick, aged or injured pet. We consider euthanasia to be the last act of love that you can give your pet.
Euthanasia Services at OPVMC
The staff at OPVMC realizes that the choice to euthanize a pet comes with many emotions and much thought. We will provide you with information to allow you to make the best decision regarding when it is time to euthanize your pet and support you during the procedure as well providing aftercare options.
The euthanasia process requires the pet owner to sign a document stating that the pet has not bitten any one in 10 days prior to euthanizing. If your pet has bitten someone during this window prior to euthanasia, it is important that you speak with the Eire County Health Department if you reside in Erie County or other appropriate county health department to report the bite incident.
The second part of the document that is required for the pet owner to sign is the release giving the staff veterinarian permission to euthanize your pet and selection of an aftercare treatment (cremation with ashes returned, cremation with ashes scattered at the crematorium rose garden, group burial at the crematorium, private burial-arrangements to be made private with Pine Rest Cemetery), or home burial.
What to Expect
If your pet is sick or suffering, the doctor will briefly consult with you to discuss the choice or need for euthanasia. We will help you make the appropriate decision for your pet and support the choice you make as you know your pet best.
The euthanasia procedure itself is quick and simply involves an injection into the vein. Occasionally, animals may show a reflexive breath, vocalize, or eliminate immediately after the injection has been given. There is no need for alarm that the animal is reacting abnormally to the injection. These signs are expected and natural part of the body "letting go". Euthanasia is typically a very quick, painless, and peaceful process for your pet.
Options Available to Make a More Comfortable Transition
- Sedation- for nervous or anxious animals to calm them for the procedure
- IV Catheter- allows for easier access to the vein during the procedure, especially for animals with poor blood pressure. This option also allows for a more private setting because only the doctor needs to be present.
- Private Time- if electing to leave the pet at the clinic, you may spend time with your pet after the procedure
- Present at the Time of Euthanasia- some people prefer not to be present for the passing of their pet and this is entirely acceptable. Know that your veterinarian and the staff will treat your pet with kindness and respect. We suggest that young children not be present during the actual euthanasia procedure as they are not generally of an age to understand the adult nature of the decision that has been made, and intense emotions that may be demonstrated by the adults involved. Children are welcome to pay their respects to their pet prior to or after the pet has passed away.