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  • Writer's pictureSieske Valk

4 “lifesaving” benefits of palliative and hospice care for pets

People with pets who have a chronic illness or are elderly, often end up feeling overwhelmed and alone in their care for their beloved companion animal. It’s round the clock care work with little understanding for your situation from the outside world.

In this blog post, we’ll describe the reasons why your pet might go into palliative or hospice care, why palliative care doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the end of your pet’s life and the four reasons how getting a specialist palliative and hospice clinic involved will save yóur life and improve what’s left of your pet’s life.


Most people have heard about palliative and hospice care for humans, but with veterinary care being slightly different and the option to euthanise your pet, how do we know whether palliative or hospice care is the best step going forward?


Firstly, it’s important to distinguish the difference between palliative and hospice care. I have written an entire blog post about the differences here. In short, palliative care begins after your pet has received a diagnosis, whether that’s cancer of osteoarthritis. Palliative care means that the disease is being treated. Some pets can live years with a disease, such as osteoarthritis or diabetes.


Eventually, when a disease is progressing insofar that treatment is not possible anymore (and this can have several reasons), the veterinarian will switch to hospice care for your pet. This means the disease is not being treated anymore, but the patient is being kept comfortable with pain relief, anti-nausea, and anti-anxiety medication, until the pet passes away naturally or through euthanasia.

In summary, hospice care for pets is focused on providing comfort and support during your pet's final days, weeks, or months of life, making their transition as comfortable and dignified as possible.


Palliative care and hospice care for pets can be necessary when a pet is facing a (terminal) illness or has a chronic condition that cannot be cured. These types of care focus on managing the pet's symptoms and providing comfort and support during their final days, weeks, or months of life.


Reasons why a pet may need hospice palliative or care

· Terminal illness

When a pet has a terminal illness such as cancer, hospice care can help manage pain, nausea, and other symptoms to keep the pet as comfortable as possible.

· Chronic conditions

Pets with chronic conditions such as kidney disease or heart failure may require palliative to treat and manage the disease and hospice care as their condition progresses and becomes more difficult to manage.

· Age-related decline

Older pets may experience age-related decline, which can include mobility issues, cognitive decline, and chronic pain. Palliative care can help manage these symptoms and improve their quality of life.


Palliative and hospice care can be provided by your regular veterinarian and yourself. However, nowadays there are also specialist palliative care providers such as Autumn Animals.

Autumn Animals works together with your primary veterinarian to help you develop a customized care plan for your pet that meets their and your family’s unique needs and provides the support you all need during this difficult time. Specialist palliative and hospice care providers have a lot of experience but are also more detached than the family of the pet itself, to ensure the pet’s welfare is always taking into consideration.


There are many benefits of palliative or hospice care for pets and their families, including these four:


1. Enhanced quality of life of your pet and yourself

By managing your pet's symptoms during the palliative phase, you can help ensure they are able to enjoy their remaining time with you as much as possible. Autumn Animals does this by helping families adjust their home environment, routine, pet’s diet to make sure the pet gets the most out of their living days and applying complimentary treatments to relief discomfort on top of regular Western medication.


2. Improved comfort

Hospice care focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms, which can greatly improve your pet's comfort during their final stages of life.


3. Emotional support

Trained palliative and hospice care providers can offer emotional support to both you and your pet during this difficult time. Autumn Animals offers End-of-Life Doula support throughout the entire journey and hosts regular Pet Bereavement Support Groups where people can come together to share their pets’ stories and their personal grief.


4. A dignified passing

Hospice care can help ensure that your pet's final moments are as peaceful and dignified as possible. Autumn Animals can help families by providing at home euthanasia so families don’t have to go through the stress of having that last drive to the veterinary surgery. Our hospice carers can also help arrange a funeral or wake for your pet or help talk to small children about death and what happens to their pet when they pass away.


Conclusion

Palliative or hospice care for pets can provide compassionate support during the Autumn of your pet’s life. It focusses on creating the best Quality of Life for both your pet and the rest of your family when the disease is still manageable and on providing comfort care for the pet at the end, give support to the family throughout the journey and help arrange the passing and after care.


If you are in need of some "lifesaving" support or advice on your elderly or inform pet, we now offer a FREE 20 minute discovery call with one of our specialists. During this call we'll discuss you and your pet's needs, fears and worries and how Autumn Animals can help. Book your call free call (usually worth £50) HERE.

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