Pet pain and death: A dvm360 Leadership Challenge
As progressive veterinary care allows pets to live longer lives, the need to keep them comfortable in their later years and cross over the final threshold with ease and grace becomes ever more paramount. Some in the profession have even made this their life’s work, with an entire focus on hospice and in-home euthanasia. And it’s not just older pets who need effective pain control—veterinarians are ever more aware of the ethical requirement that pets experience as little pain as possible as well as the fact that freedom from pain is vital for healing and well-being. This dvm360 Leadership Challenge examines all aspects of pain and death in veterinary patients—including the fact that these areas can be some of the most difficult, the most unusual and the most rewarding in which to practice.
Caring for pets in their final moments is a frequent reality for veterinary professionals. Here are 30 of the most raw, poignant, honest and sometimes rueful confessions to highlight this special responsibility you have to your patients.
Pain in the clinic
The last thing you want is to allow a pet to experience or subsist in pain. Take a trip through this photo gallery to make sure your pain detector is set on high and ready to take action.
That's your veterinary team and a good client questionnaire. Hear all about it from pain management specialist Dr. Micahel Petty.
Drs. Dani McVety and Mary Gardner give tips to not only assist the process of death, but also to do good and profound work when it comes to giving a pet their "wings."
What can you do to help comfort the pet—and the veterinary client—during those final days?
All good things must come to an end, and pets are nothing but good in their owners' eyes. Here’s some advice from Dr. Mary Gardner on how to best handle those last moments, even when an unexpected entreaty arises.
I wear that title as a badge of honor. My value as a veterinarian lies in the art and skill of death at the heart of my mobile hospice practice.
How can you talk to pet owners about euthanasia when their immediate reaction is to flinch away from the very word? Here are some tips to help your veterinary team smooth the transition for clients.
Use these tips to help your entire veterinary team—and other clients—recognize when a euthanasia is happening in your practice.
The veterinarian performing euthanasia is the author of a pet’s last chapter. Make sure it’s full of gentleness and love.
Talking to clients about euthanasia
Age-appropriate ways of talking about veterinary euthanasia and honoring the life of a dear departing pet.
Hospice veterinarian Dr. Jessica Vogelsang realized her communication shortcomings when she had to explain euthanasia to her own kids—an experience that transformed how she now counsels parents.
The hardest question you have to face as a pet owner. Dr. Mary Gardner wants to help your patients have a perfect ending to their perfect life.
Hospice and euthanasia are all about timing. Dr. Mary Gardner offers to guide clients through the process of their final gift to their pet—saying goodbye.
Pet owners need hospice and euthanasia help in your patients' rough moments. Brush up on your client communication and manage these exam room and home encounters right.
For us, veterinary medicine is a form of friendship, and caring for hospice and palliative-care patients is a team activity that asks for attention, care and skill from every single team member in our hospitals.
Why you need a bereavement coordinator—and how it helps your veterinary team.
Our practice created a special garden to remember the pets that are no longer with us. This rock garden has become a foundation for our relationship with pets and their families.