Discussing End-of-Life Care with Your Veterinarian

Discussing End-of-Life Care with Your Veterinarian

As pet owners, one of the most difficult responsibilities we face is navigating our furry companions' end-of-life journey. It's a time filled with complex emotions, tough decisions, and the desire to provide the best possible care for our beloved pets. To shed light on this delicate topic, we turn to the expertise of Dr. Godfrey, a compassionate veterinarian here at Cascade Hospital for Animals, who offers valuable insights into end-of-life care for pets.

Dr. Godfrey begins by clarifying the concept of end-of-life care for pets. "Much like with people, this term gets used to mean several different things and can be confusing," she explains. "When I discuss end-of-life care, I’m referring to a situation in which we are focused purely on comfort and quality of life in an animal’s last few months to days."

In her practice, Dr. Godfrey emphasizes the importance of understanding a pet's individual needs and tailoring care accordingly. "Pets are evaluated by our doctors to determine what they are struggling with and what we can do to alleviate their symptoms," she says. "Having a better understanding of what is causing an animal’s decline in quality of life helps us choose the best approach for an individual pet."

When it comes to assessing a pet's quality of life, Dr. Godfrey encourages pet owners to pay attention to subtle signs. "The way I always approach quality of life discussions is asking if a pet still loves the things they love and if they still hate the things they hate," she advises. "If they are not doing any of these things, it is a sign that their quality of life is likely quite poor."

However, knowing when it's time to say goodbye isn't always straightforward. "As much as I would like to say that you will know when it is time, it is not always that easy," Dr. Godfrey acknowledges. "This is often a very difficult decision, and feeling conflicted is normal."

In such moments, Dr. Godfrey emphasizes the importance of seeking guidance from a trusted veterinarian. "Your veterinarian can work with you to determine when is the right time," she reassures. "Our goal should always be to prevent suffering, rather than preserving life for its own sake."

For pet owners seeking end-of-life care options, Dr. Godfrey highlights the availability of at-home services. "Either your regular veterinarian or one of the at-home services we can recommend are the best place to seek end-of-life care," she advises. "They would be happy to discuss what that would involve in your pet's specific case."

Dr. Godfrey Dr. Godfrey or any of our other skilled veterinarians at CHFA are here for you to discuss the needs of your beloved pet and the various care options available. Ultimately, Dr. Godfrey emphasizes the importance of compassion and understanding during this challenging time. "Whenever you have any questions or concerns about your pet's health and wellbeing, reach out to your veterinarian’s office," she urges. "Together, we can ensure that your beloved pet's final days are filled with love, comfort, and dignity."

Remember, you're not alone in this journey. Your veterinarian and their team are here to support you every step of the way, offering guidance, compassion, and understanding. Whether you have questions about end-of-life care or simply need reassurance during a challenging time, don't hesitate to lean on your veterinary professionals for guidance.

Contact us to schedule an in-person appointment.