Much has been written on the very difficult decisions and emotions that are related to the time when a beloved pet is euthanized. This is no doubt a reflection of the depth of the emotions involved and the number of individuals who go through them; it is a different experience for each person.
The following describes how we at Gallatin Vet try to ease your experience once you have made the difficult decision that it is time.
The decision or need to euthanize may come suddenly and we always go to great lengths to accommodate euthanasia appointments. We believe very firmly that humane euthanasia is the last great thing that we can do for your pets, and it is a priority at our hospital.
There are three options for your companion once he or she has passed. First, you can take his or her body home with you for burial. Secondly, you can have him or her cremated and have the ashes returned (private cremation). Finally, you can have him or her cremated with other pets (communal cremation). While on the phone with client relations they will ask you which of these you would prefer.
Once the time has come you and your pet will be escorted immediately into the Quiet Room, a larger room that is more intimate and comfortable than the normal examination room. Soon thereafter, our Veterinary Technicians will place an intravenous (IV) catheter in your pet. The IV catheter makes it more comfortable for your pet (no need for restraint) and minimizes the chance of the euthanasia solution going outside the vein. You will be asked to sign the ‘Euthanasia Release Form’, which gives GVH permission to perform the euthanasia and confirms that no one has been bitten (a legal requirement).
One of our Veterinarians will then visit with you to discuss any remaining questions and describe the euthanasia process. We may use two drugs during the euthanasia. The first injection is a fast-acting sedative that eases the anxiety that your pet may feel. Soon after injection your pet becomes calmer and no longer feels any pain. The second injection is an overdose of an anesthesia drug that stops breathing and also stops the heart. Some side effects of your pet's passing that occasionally occur include small muscle tremors, defecation, urination, and several breaths that come from the diaphragm muscle spasms that are not truly breaths. We sit quietly and wait for these to subside – your pet cannot feel them.
Some people choose to say their final goodbye to their beloved pet before the euthanasia. You are not alone or wrong if this is your choice. Please know that your pet will be surrounded by gentle and loving care during their final moments and their body is always treated with the upmost care and respect.
Please do not hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns that you may have. We are here to assist and support you during this difficult time.