Euthanasia is the act of humanely ending the life of a living being in order to end extreme suffering, which is typically as the result of a serious and irreversible medical condition.
As the guardian of a pet, the decision of whether or not to choose to euthanize can be a very difficult and very painful one. In our almost 50 combined years of experience as veterinarians, we have seen pet guardians struggle with this decision in many different ways. Some people seem to know when it is time; however most of us second-guess ourselves when making this difficult decision. Almost everyone asks us if we feel is the time for their pet to go. They ask us if they are making the right decision for euthanasia. If we have been your pet's veterinarian, or if your pet has been under the care of the veterinarian and those records have been sent to us with time to review, we can definitely help you with that answer. We can help guide you and your family through the decision-making process and help you keep the best interest of your pet in mind. If we have never seen your pet before, and have no veterinary history to help us, we cannot honestly tell you with one glance or one quick examination if your pet should be euthanized. A pet, especially an older pet, may have a medically manageable condition resembling something terminal. Before considering an option as serious and as fatal as euthanasia, you may want to give your pet the benefit of a veterinary examination and consultation or some basic lab testing first. Alternatively, you may be one of those people who just know it is time. Your pet may be old and failing and you have noticed that your pet's symptoms have gotten progressively worse, and feel very sure that euthanasia is the right decision. Ultimately, the choice is yours, and we are here to help. Unlike euthanasia-only veterinarians or brick and mortar clinics, we can help with end of life concerns and help with medically manageable conditions as well as provide euthanasia services, all at your home. If you would like to schedule either an evaluation or euthanasia, please give our receptionist a call at 517-881-9887. We do not recommend scheduling both an evaluation and a euthanasia at the same appointment.
The Kindest Gift
When the time comes, deciding on euthanasia at your home can be the kindest gift you give to your pet. Choosing euthanasia at home can eliminate the stress, anxiety, and the discomfort of a drive and unfamiliar smells and surroundings. You can choose where you want the veterinarian and her assistant to see your pet. Most often this is in your home, a favorite place in the home, or in the yard. We can also arrange to bring our mobile veterinary clinic if you prefer not to have your pet in the home for all or part of the euthanasia.
What to expect
When we arrive, we will check with you and your pet first. We will spend some time to be sure everyone is comfortable. You can have friends and family and other pets present if you like. It is advised that children not be present for the euthanasia. Though we recommend having discussions with your children about your plans, it is very important that you have discussions with them prior to this visit. If you have questions on this, please let us know. We have a wonderful book about euthansia that is written with children in mind that we can leave with you to keep and share.
When you are ready, your pet will receive a series of 2 or 3 injections. Our goal is to make this as comfortable as possible for your pet. The injections do not sting or hurt. The first injection is a combination of a tranquilizer and a narcotic to alleviate anxiety and pain. This will make your pet sleepy and they will look comfortable, sometimes they will even snore. If needed, we will give a second injection of this medication to be sure your pet is as relaxed as possible. It usually takes between 5 and 15 minutes to feel the effect of these medications. When ready, the final injection, similar to an anesthetic, will be given into the blood stream. As this last injection is being given your pet will first fall under a peaceful anesthesia, and sometimes you will notice the deep breaths of anesthesia. This injection takes only a minute or two, and we will always give more of this medication than is needed. We will confirm your pet has passed, and then let you have as much time as you need. If we have made arrangements for cremation, we will caringly transport your pet to the crematorium.
Many people chose to bury their pets. Cremation services are available. If you would like, we can arrange cremation by transporting your pet to a company we trust: Partridge Pet Crematory and Cemetery. We can help you choose whether or not to keep your pet's ashes, or to arrange a clay pawprint. Burial in their Pet Cemetery is also an option. If you chose to keep your pet's ashes, they will be mailed to you, unless you prefer to arrange to pick them up. Partridge Pet Crematory can be contacted directly if you have any special requests such as special urn or burial: www.partridge-ent.com.
Note that if you have other pets, it is possible they will mourn. Sometimes the mourning is obvious and sometimes it is not. Please spend extra time with them in the weeks following this to be sure they are eating and drinking enough. Make sure to give them extra attention.
Take some time to mourn. For most of us, the loss of a pet is the loss of a close companion. Find people who understand this bond to be with and talk to. Unless you tell us otherwise, we will give you a call in a day or two. You can call us anytime. The MSU veterinary clinic has a pet loss support group that meets twice a month, there are also groups that meet in Ann Arbor, Bingham Farms, Farmington Hills, and Flint. If you are interested, check the links below.
We understand. Whether you would just like more information on home euthanasia, or would like to schedule an end of life evaluation and consultation, or get started on making an appointment for euthanasia , filling out the Euthanasia for your Pet questionnaire is a good place to start.