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Does My Senior Pet Need Hospice?

Pets go through a puppy, adult, senior, and eventually end of life stage. Your pet will have different needs during the different stages. As your pet gets older, they may experience health complications that leave them unable to do the things they love. 


Unfortunately, most animals do not show signs of discomfort even when they are suffering. You may think that your pet is okay when they are actually in great pain. If you have been thinking about hospice care for your senior pet, or if your pet is getting older, read on.


Understanding Animal Hospice


Hospice care for pets can be very beneficial for an animal approaching the end of its life. It helps bridge the time the pet can no longer benefit from treatment to when they finally pass on. 


End-of-life care goes beyond the actual death process. It usually begins when the animal is too old or has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Hospice care can be brief or extended depending on different factors like the health of the pet.


Overall Health of the Pet


When thinking about hospice care, the most important consideration is the overall health of your pet. Many pet parents who consider hospice are usually thinking about extending the life of their pets. Unfortunately, this is not always the best thing for the animal. 


If your pet is chronically ill or in extreme pain, extending their life may not be the right thing for them. It is important to talk to your veterinarian to find out the actual health condition of your senior pet. 


The Pet’s Quality of Life


To determine if your senior pet needs hospice care, you need to think about the quality of life. Since your pet cannot tell you how they feel, you have to depend on their behavior and clinical signs. To determine the quality of life, you need to ask yourself a few questions.


Is your pet’s eating and drinking habits off? Are they passing urine and having bowel movements normally? Do they show signs of being in pain? Assess your pet’s response to their surroundings and determine if they are responding positively. 


Realistic Medical Intervention


When determining the need for hospice care, you need to decide if your pet will benefit from medical intervention. Any medical intervention that you opt for will need to work for the option to be desirable. 


If the pet continues to suffer even with treatment, continuing the medical intervention is not a good idea. Medical intervention may not be realistic if it has to be ongoing. If your pet requires constant attention, care, and monitoring, hospice care may be an option. 


Making the Pet Comfortable


Hospice care involves the provision of dedicated care that helps keep a pet comfortable in their sunset days. To be successful, the care should effectively alleviate the pet’s suffering. At this stage, the goal shifts from finding a cure to ensuring that the pet is comfortable. The idea is to ensure that the pet enjoys a good quality of life. Pet hospice may also include at-home euthanasia where needed. 


You can choose hospice care if your desire is for your pet to pass on in their own time. Trained hospice care providers can help provide much-needed support not just for the pet but for the entire family.


For more on hospice care for your senior pet, contact Eastern Animal Hospital at our office in Baltimore, Maryland. You can call 410-633-8808 today to schedule an appointment.

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