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Euthanasia at OPVMC

Rainbow Room

When your pet is suffering, unlikely to recover or their quality of life has significantly decreased, euthanasia is a means to end your pet's pain and suffering. The decision can be incredibly difficult for a pet owner and a veterinarian alike but it is also an incredible act of kindness and last act of love for your pet.

Having an understanding of what the process of euthanasia is like can potentially help you with the decision, and also whether or not you wish to be present during the euthanasia. A pet's comfort during the entire procedure is of utmost importance to our staff. After a discussion with the attending veterinarian an indwelling IV catheter will be placed (if they don't already have one if they have been hospitalized). This allows for quick and accurate administration of the euthanasia solution. Before the euthanasia itself and if needed a mild sedative can be used if your pet appears painful or anxious. We will also find a quiet room where the euthanasia will take place. The solution that is used is a type of general anesthesia that provides loss of consciousness and pain sensation but at such a high dose also causes suppression of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. As the solution takes effect, they fall asleep and major organs stop functioning within minutes. It appears as though they have quietly gone to sleep and they feel no pain. At that point the veterinarian will auscult the heart to listen for a heart beat. More often than not the eyes will remain open. You may see a couple of last involuntary breaths due to muscle contraction and these are called agonal breaths. You may even see muscle twitching. All of this is completely normal and to be expected. Most pet owners that witness this process are relieved and surprised at how quick, peaceful and painless the process is.

At OPVMC we offer a special room, called the "Rainbow Room" which is used for euthanasia, quality of life discussions and support from our team including our Veterinary Social Worker when needed. Our goal was to make it feel like home, rather than a hospital, with a cozy atmosphere full of comfortable furniture and warm lighting.

OPVMC offers various aftercare options including cremation with ashes returned. Please discuss these options with an OPVMC team member.