I have a terminally ill pet, now what? 5 Factors to Consider before deciding if Euthanasia is an option

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terminally ill pet

*A guest post by Kamira Gayle, author of Impurrfectlife.com

As a pet owner and a pet parent there may come a time when you are going to be faced with a monumental decision – you have a terminally ill pet and need to consider euthanasia.  I wrote about my own personal experience making this decision in a post called Euthanasia: How I decided it was time to let go. If you know someone or are currently in this predicament of trying to decide what you will do; keep reading. This post is meant to help those who have just found out their pet is suffering from a terminal illness or condition.  I am going to share with you 5 key factors to consider in this decision making process.

5 Factors to consider before deciding if euthanasia is an option

1)     Are you sure I have a terminally ill pet? Get a Second Opinion

Getting a second opinion is a good idea because in the best case scenario, the prognosis could turn out to be a good one. Your prior vet could have potentially misdiagnosed a problem. On the other hand, even if you find the second vet comes to the same general conclusion about your pet, at least you have a definitive answer on the same page from two sources. From there you can be confident in the source of the problem and work on steps to try to fix and/or cure the problem. At the very least you can create a plan to provide your pet quality of life for their remaining time. This leads me to the second factor to take into account.

2) Consider the expenses

When it comes to healthcare of our pets, and even ourselves, it should be a priority. However, we live in an imperfect world and times are hard. Not everyone has health insurance for their pet. When expenses for a potential life-saving procedure are presented by your vet, you may just come to realize that the cost of vet care by a specialist can be as much as or more than your flat monthly bill or house mortgage.

With high medical expenses and costs, you’ll need to weigh your options in terms of type of treatments. You’ll need to consider if you want traditional medicine or holistic medicine. How long will recovery be? How much will this cost drag out? Are you able to do a payment plan? Can you afford to pay the vet bills and afford to pay for a roof over your head? These are all important factors to consider.

3) Research illness and treatment options

With determining and weighing all your options before even considering euthanasia, it’s best to understand and research information on the ailment /illness that your pet has. After receiving a phone call that changed my life and learning about my pet’s illness, I took it upon myself to use the Internet to explore and learn about thyroid cancer and hyperthyroidism. Use all available resources to help you get a better understanding about the condition your pet has. By educating yourself about your pet’s condition, it will also provide you with a better idea of what to expect in terms of symptoms and thereby help you to be better able to comfort your pet if possible.

Additionally, after researching information on the illness, do your due diligence and explore whatever treatment options are available. Whether this means looking up holistic veterinarians for alternative medicine or getting conventional vet treatment in person from your own vet, try to expand your circle and think outside the box.

4) Consider your pet’s Age

There is also the issue of age to consider. Is your pet early in their years, young and vibrant? Or is your pet a senior with less energy? Does your pet have the endurance and stamina for surgery? Think about how your pet’s age impacts recovering from surgery. Talk to your vet and get their opinion. Think about which is more of a priority; more days on Earth with your pet or less days but maximised quality of life?

5) Think about your pet’s basic ability to function

When faced with all these factors one of the most important ones that helped me make a decision was quality of life. Check and see daily if your pet can use the bathroom on their own? Are they still eating and drinking water regularly? Do they have problems breathing? Do they appear in pain? Are they acting out of character and secluding themselves? These are all big red flags that your pet may be seriously ill and choosing to put your pet down may be the most humane choice.

Dealing with a sick pet is tough. And making the choice to consider euthanasia is an even tougher battle. It’s a personal choice and a huge decision that will forever rock your world. In making such a huge decision in life, it is important to help other pet parents by sharing this list of factors to consider in the decision making process. With all the information and aspects to consider you can feel more confident and settled in your final decision.

Did you like Kamira’s post? You can check out more of her work and follow her journey to finding joy, inspiration and comfort post pet loss at Impurrfectlife.com.

Additional Information from CPC

I would like to thank Kamira for her ongoing support of the CPC blog; this is latest article covering euthanasia and having a terminally ill pet. This topic rings so close to many of our readers hearts, I thought it would be useful to add this small section to highlight services we offer that may help those going through such a difficult time.

Farewell Planner

The CPC Farewell planner is a free service that we offer to all pet owners. It is a way for you to record your wishes, like a will for your pet. You can select the options available and create a document to keep or take to your veterinary practice to put on file and refer to. This is a no obligation service for you to register your wishes.

Petrest Pre-payment Plan

Our Petrest Pre-Payment Plan allows you to arrange your pet’s cremation and confirm all of the relevant details in advance – by making the arrangements in advance you won’t have to make difficult decisions immediately after the passing of your pet.


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