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Palliative care: providing a better death for the animals you were trained to save
In this episode of The Vet Blast Podcast, Lynn Hendrix, DVM, CHPV, broaches the topic of end of life care
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Lynn Hendrix, DVM, CHPV, joins The Vet Blast Podcast to discuss palliative care with Adam Christman, DVM, MBA. Hendrix explains how veterinary professionals can do more to provide a "better death" for animals with appropriate end-of-life care.
Below is a partial transcript. Listen to the full podcast for more.
Lynn Hendrix, DVM, CHPV: I was thinking we're so good at curative medicine, we don't know when to stop intervening, and I realized as I was writing it, that we actually continue to intervene...We're just not intervening in in the same way...
And that's kind of rolls me into the other part of that, and that's natural death. I think both of those things are myths that we've kind of hold held on to. And that natural death is the one that clients hang on to saying, "Well, I'll just go home and let him die," or "I've gotten scared because you just told me my animal has cancer, and you know, he's not in pain, because I don't recognize it, and so I'm just gonna go ahead and take him home against medical advice and just let him die." And so there's this gap of support that we have, because of those 2 concepts...from both aspects of veterinary medicine and client perspective.
You know, natural death is not comfortable. We know that as veterinarians. It's very rare that you will get a very quick, natural, quote unquote, natural death...And so for client education, I take that term out and I call it a palliated death. You would much rather have your animal have a palliated death than an unpalliated death. And that makes veterinarians more comfortable going to a pet [and] helping an animal go to a palliated death, rather than send them to an unpalliated death where there's no intervention.