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Euthanasia

Euthanasia

We understand that this is a very sad and difficult decision and try to make the situation as comfortable as possible. We endeavour to carry out this service during a quiet time at the surgery.

Many people wish to take their beloved pet home after we have performed the euthanasia, but we can also offer you the option of having your pet cremated and their ashes returned to you if desired.

We employ the services of Limekiln Crematorium at Stroud who have worked with our surgery for many years.

Some further information about euthanasia and frequently asked questions:

Ideally we would like our pets to die peacefully in their sleep, and many do.

With recent advancements in pet care and medical knowledge, most pets have long and healthy lives. However, unfortunately some will reach a point when life is no longer enjoyable. At such a point the owner must decide whether it would be kinder for their pet to be put to sleep to prevent further suffering.

What is euthanasia?

The decision to end a life is never easy. It is a personal, loving decision to euthanise a pet for which the quality of life has deteriorated. It takes courage to assume this last duty and it is our last responsibility to a pet that has given us love and companionship.

Is it the right time to consider euthanasia?

  • Is your dog in incurable pain or continual discomfort which cannot be alleviated by drugs?
  • Is treatment of his condition no longer possible?
  • Has he suffered severe injuries from which he will never recover?
  • Does he have an age-related or illness-related condition that cannot be alleviated and which now causes misery, such as senility or incontinence?
  • Is he suffering from a terminal illness that has now reduced his quality of life to such a point that he is no longer happy?

Making the decision

The decision almost always causes much soul-searching. What matters to your pet is quality of life, not length of life, since most pets have little concept of future time. Having known the pet when he is happy and healthy, most owners recognise the signs given that he is miserable. Some of these may be:

  • No longer eating or drinking
  • Becoming withdrawn or lethargic
  • No longer grooming
  • Incontinence
  • Signs of pain or discomfort and unable to get comfortable
  • Unwilling to move about

Giving Permission

We will ask you to sign a consent form giving permission for your pet to be euthanased. Very occasionally your vet may ask permission by telephone. This may happen if your dog is having an operation and it becomes apparent that euthanasia would be kinder than allowing him to regain consciousness, for example, if the vet discovers advanced cancer.

How Is Euthanasia Performed?

In dogs and cats, euthanasia is performed by an anaesthetic overdose injected into the cephalic vein of a foreleg. We will clip a small patch of fur from the foreleg first. In some cases, the vein can be difficult to locate and occasionally a couple of attempts may be needed to find it. One of our qualified nurses will gently hold your pet while the injection is given. If a dog or cat is extremely difficult to handle, they may need to be sedated first; this is less stressful than trying to corner and restrain an agitated animal.

How long does it take for my pet to pass away after the injection is given?

The process can be very quick. Your pet can lose consciousness within seconds of the injection and death follows a short while later. If you are holding your pet, you will feel him exhale, relax and become heavier in your arms. He may pass urine as the muscles relax. The vet will check for a heart beat and if there is still a faint one the vet will administer a second dose of the drug. Your pet will not be aware of a second injection if it is needed. Some owners feel that it is their last duty to be there whilst others prefer not to be present. This is a personal decision. Your animal will be treated with the same respect and dignity whether or not you are present.

Can I have my dog put to sleep at home?

We are happy to come to your home to euthanase your pet if requested. Both you and your pet may find this less stressful than waiting at the practice.