More and more veterinarians are offering hospice care for terminally ill cats and dogs.
This gives pet owners another option to expensive surgeries or early euthanasia by teaching them how to nurse their pet at home.
About 30 veterinarians across the nation offer hospice care for pet owners.
Cats and dogs are cared for at home and are given medication and go through holistic methods to ease their pain until they die or the owners decide to euthanize the pet. Caregivers are also taught the impending signs of death and learn what to do in different situations.
Hospice care will lengthen some lives for just a few days while some pets can live for years with hospice care.
About 40 percent of owners with ill or dying pets go with hospice care.
Alice Villalobos, DVM and owner of Pawspice, an end-of-life care clinic in Hermosa Beach, California, said a successful hospice program ensures that the pet does not suffer. There is a “quality-of-life scale” that rates things like happiness, hurt and hunger. Owners can check the scale at any time to decide if they should continue with the hospice program or euthanize their cat or dog.
“When the time comes to let the pet go, owners feel satisfied knowing that they have given that pet what the pet gave to them, which is unconditional love,” said Villalobos.