Quality of Life at
the End of Life
"The Quality of Life is more important
than life itself."
Near the end of life, many pets experience discomfort in various ways. Very often, the signs and symptoms start subtly and progress almost imperceptibly to the untrained eye. Hospice care veterinarians identify 30 or more subtle signs of pain in addition to suffering caused by dehydration, nausea and loss of appetite, incontinence and soiling , difficulty breathing, disorientation, weakness and more. Click here to see a list of pain symptoms.
As the end of life approaches, most of us hope that our beloved pet will pass away quietly in the night. Sadly, this is hardly ever the case. A well thought out hospice care plan can increase the odds, but even then, the number of bad days may begin to exceed the number of good days. You may sense that your pet is just not who she or he used to be, that she isn't "quite there" anymore or that he looks at you with a forlorn look as if asking for your help. A moment later, there may be a little tail wag or a bit of purring, but then they slip away again. It is hard to know what to do. Over the years, I have always found that if we put the pet first, that if we reach deeply into our hearts and put his or her best interests and quality of life first, then the best choices are made. To that end, my friend Dr. Alice Villalobos, a veterinary oncologist and creator of the first animal hospice program in the US ("Pawspice"), has created this Quality of Life Scale and generously shares it with anyone reading here now. Click here to open the Quality of Life Scale.
If your regular veterinarian has said that nothing more can be done for your pet, but you are not quite sure if today is the day, please feel free to call Dr. Doffermyre or email her for a complimentary consultation.