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What Is Pet Hospice?

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  • Written By: Gregory Hanson
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A pet hospice is a veterinary medical facility designed to provide end-of-life care for ailing pets. Palliative care, which entails managing the pain and discomfort experienced by pets, is a key part of this process. Both physical and emotional comfort is typically provided to suffering animals. Additionally, a pet hospice will typically provide support structures and services for the owners of a pet in order to help them cope with the impending loss of a beloved animal companion.

Hospices have a long tradition of offering men and women a chance to die in peace and with dignity, while also allowing for farewells and rituals of parting. The mission of a pet hospice is very similar. In such a facility, medicines and other treatments are used to manage any pain or discomfort than an animal might be experiencing as a result of age or infirmity. Owners are able to spend some final period of time with their pets while this care is being administered.

Many different measures may be taken by a pet hospice in order to ensure the comfort of animals. Veterinarians will monitor them for signs of discomfort and will administer pain-relievers as needed to prevent suffering. A typical pet hospice is designed to mimic the characteristics of a comfortable home environment and may include toys or other furnishings designed to allow a pet to relax and be at peace.

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The specific design of a pet hospice practice can vary greatly. Some consist of dedicated facilities, where pet owners and pets can spend a final period of time together under the supervision of trained veterinary personnel. In other cases, a pet hospice may be part of a more traditional veterinary medicine practice. This type of service might simply include a small quiet room to allow a final farewell or might consist of a careful program of home-based veterinary services to allow an animal to spend its final days at peace amid familiar surroundings.

Veterinarians engaged in pet hospice work make sure that the needs of the animals under their care are taken seriously. Some pet owners are reluctant to part with animal companions even in cases where it is no longer possible to manage an animal’s pain. A veterinarian working at a pet hospice will typically inform a pet owner if it is no longer possible to alleviate a pet’s suffering through palliative care measures. Pet euthanasia services may be offered by pet hospices in such situations.

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