Euthanizing a beloved pet
One of the most difficult decisions that almost any animal guardian at some point must make is when they must wish their canine or feline companion a compassionate goodbye, by choosing humane euthanasia for a chronically ill, untreatable, or suffering elder pet. As in human medicine, animals are living longer and longer in recent years, and with age come many chronic degenerative diseases. Organ failure including liver or kidney failure, degenerative joint or spinal disease, declining cognitive dysfunction, and cancer of any organ system all top the list of chronic diseases in aging pets.
And while there have been many medical and surgical advances in helping palliate many of these conditions, there does come a time when an animal guardian must make a decision on continuing management of these and other conditions versus the difficult decision of humane euthanasia when quality of life of most days is very poor. Certainly having a long term relationship with a trusting and kind small animal veterinarian who knows you and your companion best, and who can help you sort through treatment options is an essential part of caring for an ill pet who may be approaching a transitional period of life, and/or where treatment is no longer helping.
While many animal guardians would prefer their pets pass peacefully in their sleep and/or at home, many dogs and cats can linger for weeks or months in states of suffering, that often only the trusted family veterinarian can assess in an objective, nonjudgmental fashion. While there are some veterinarians who utilize homeopathic medicines in assisting the transitional process, most of the time chemical euthanasia, through the painless injection of an anesthetic, offers the best option for most animal guardians. This difficult decision is one that can only be made after careful consideration, thought and discussion with your family veterinarian.