Do veterinarians do hospice care?


Check yourself against this quick crash course in veterinary terminology

Although the following terms are commonly used interchangeably in the practice of veterinary medicine, they mean different things, say the participants in a focus group conducted by Virbac Animal Health. Study these terms so you can say what you mean and mean what you say.

Hospice care is a human model and means something very different from what you typically offer your clients. Most pet owners view hospice care as the act of comforting a patient in the last few weeks or days before death.

By contrast, you offer patients palliative care, providing clients with options and explaining that there are many drugs that can improve their pets' quality of life and even extend that life with little or no pain. Most veterinarians from the focus group agreed that they could use more training on end-of-life care, the broad term for performing palliative care, euthanasia, and end-of-life discussions with clients. The result could be that pet owners will be more open to palliative care and less likely to move immediately to discussions of euthanasia.

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