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When Is The Time To Say Goodbye?

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We have all had, currently have or will have pets in the future.  An unfortunate fact of life is that (except for a few species of reptiles and birds) our family pets do not have the life span of a human.  This leads to the inevitable time that we must deal with their passing.

In many instances animals will pass away on their own, but in other cases we are in an uncomfortable position of having to make a decision due to their pain and suffering or poor quality of life.

First and foremost you are the best judge of your pets quality of life on a daily basis.  How's their activity level, appetite, do they respond well to you or is there little response and interaction with the family and other pets anymore?  Is the pet in pain, or do they have any current diseases causing discomfort or disability?  These questions can be determined best by the pet's owner.

Veterinary advise can often be very helpful to give additional information on your pets physical condition and sometimes mental status.  An animal behaviorist (not the same as a trainer) can also give an excellent appraisal of both quality of life and mental status as well.

Many animals reach a point of disability where they cannot even get up anymore, have heart, kidney, liver failure or cancer and should be accessed by your veterinarian through physical exam, blood-work, x-rays, ultrasound, etc.  Sometimes, if severe conditions exist, this may make the decision easier for you, but in many instances you're still unsure.  Have you tried various medications to help your pet's condition or alternative therapies such as herbal, acupuncture, chiropractic, etc. before giving up?  It is very important to find a Veterinarian skilled in these areas since some herbs are dangerous to animals and only a certified Veterinarian Chiropractor or Acupuncturist should be consulted.  I have had good results and extended many pets lives employing or referring other therapies where traditionalists have given up.

Once you have tried proper therapies and have had no response or all efforts no longer work, you alone or together with others have determined there is no other hope and the quality of life is poor (this can be very stressful to you and your family) you should then consider humane euthanasia to relieve suffering.  Humane euthanasia may be considered a privilege since we can give our pets the dignity and humane option of not continuing to suffer and being in pain day after day.  This is a time to think about your pet's condition, not yourself (even though it is difficult to let go) and give them the full consideration and respect in return for all those years of companionship and pleasure they have given you.

The above is a reprint of an article written by Jack Landess, D.V.M., as a public service.  Reprint permission was obtained from the Florida Pet Pages.

 

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