Pet Hospice And Palliative Care

What's The Difference Between Hospice And Palliative Care?

Animal hospice and palliative care help caregivers of ill or dying animals ease into an acceptance of death, provide time for them to adjust
emotionally to the loss of their animal, and reduce the stresses arising from end ­of­ life decision ­making and care.

Palliative care refers to relieving or soothing the symptoms of a disease at any stage of an illness. It is particularly significant in the context of terminal illness and end-of-life care. It’s the effective management of pain and the provision of comfort care. The word 'palliative' means to abate or reduce the intensity.

The core of palliative care is the effective management of pain by combining different types of pharmaceutical drugs and alternative therapies. Treatments such as acupuncture, laser therapy and massage can be very effective.

Hospice affirms life and regards dying as a normal process. By electing to forego extensive life-prolonging treatment, hospice emphasizes quality rather than quantity of life. The pet is able to get the most out of the time they have left, without some of the negative side-effects that life prolonging treatments can have.

Hospice begins when it’s clear that the pet is not going to survive the underlying disease and the curative treatment has stopped. It redefines hope to include a kinder and more gentle death. Pet hospice is not an actual place, but rather a philosophy of care, which includes euthanasia and hospice-supported natural death.

Hospice and palliative care does not focus on keeping a pet alive. But rather making sure that the pet is comfortable and experiences more pleasure than pain. It gives the pet owner control and the pet dignity.

It is also of the upmost importance that an expert veterinarian with great knowledge of palliative and end-of-life care supervises the process to provide the most humane, ethical and effective medical treatment for the pet. In anticipation of the death of the pet, hospice also addresses the emotional, spiritual and social needs of the pet owner or caregiver.

Possible Pet Hospice Team Members

  • Veterinarians
  • Vet Techs
  • Mental Health Professional
  • Pet Loss Counselor
  • Alternative Therapy Providers
  • Pet Chaplin
  • Pet Sitter
  • Pharmacist

Possible Palliative Pharmaceutical Treatments

  • Local anesthetics
  • Steroids
  • Opiates
  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-anxiety
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Image Credit: IAAHPC