The Difference Between Hospice and Palliative Care

August 13, 2018

You can have palliative care without hospice, but you cannot have hospice without palliative care.

You can have palliative care without hospice, but you cannot have hospice without palliative care, explains Kathleen Cooney, DVM, MS, CHPV, an animal hospice consultant.

"So the difference between hospice and palliative care is that you can have palliative care without hospice, but you cannot have hospice without palliative care. Hospice must include palliative care. In fact there's 5 subcategories within the umbrella term animal hospice. One of them would be palliative care, the second one would be natural death support, or what we might view as hospice-supported natural death, then euthanasia, pet loss support, and body care.

So palliative care is a huge component of animal hospice. What it really means, palliative care, is that we're trying to hide or cloak to minimize the symptoms that an animal will feel with disease; trying to mitigate it, to make it go away, so the animal can live comfortably as normal as possible until death would come at some point, but you can have palliative care very early on in life. There are many diseases out there that are needing to be palliated, diabetes as an example, but when it comes to end-of-life, anything that an animal is experiencing in preparation for death itself, much of that requires palliative care so that the patient is comfortable."