Hospice Care for Pets

Pet Medical Center’s Hospice Program is designed to help you and your family through the challenging final stages of your pet's life.
Hospice care provides specialized end-of-life care for the dying pet patients, as well as an emotionally-supportive grief process for the family.

Making these decisions are never easy.  Palliative care and hospice services aren’t for every pet or every family.  If you discern that you prefer to help your pet die before disease becomes advanced or the illness takes a huge toll, the PMC veterinarians are blessed with the option of providing a peaceful and painless end to the pain your pet may be suffering.

Euthanasia means “good death”.  If pet hospice doesn’t meet your or your family’s needs, the veterinarians at PMC can help you and your family plan for a euthanasia that will allow you and your pet to be together throughout the process.

Pet Hospice stems from the belief that death is not a medical failure.  Death is a normal and inevitable conclusion to life.  When all involved are properly prepared and guided, death can be experienced with dignity and compassion.  The PMC Hospice Team is here to guide and support you and your pet towards a hospice-assisted natural death or hospice-assisted euthanasia.  When a cure cannot be found, or when treatment is not an option, hospice offers hope.  Hospice is a place for you to have time to grieve, time to accept your pet’s prognosis, and time for you to prepare for what lies ahead.

Goals of Pet Hospice

  • To educate you in ways to improve your pet’s quality of life with home visits and/or in-practice visits focused on providing the highest quality of care to your pet.
  • To focus on providing comfort, medical care, pain control, and support to the pet in partnership with the family caregivers.
  • To support the whole family, including other pets, through this crucial time while respecting your personal views and desires.
  • To make the dying process a thoughtful, compassionate experience for both the pet and the family by providing patients with a safe and gentle end of life experience in our hospital or within the family home.

Is Your Pet Ready For Hospice Care?

A pet usually can enter a hospice program when a terminal diagnosis is given or their age is advanced to know the end is near.  Hospice is not a specific place for your pet to go to-it’s  a different philosophy of care provided at home and at PMC.

Keeping a daily log of your pet’s activities is a good way to assess how she is doing. Is he having more good days than bad? Is she still interested in eating/drinking? Does he still go about his normal routine?   When a pet has a disease where a cure is not possible, the pet should still have access to high-quality medical care, and kept comfortable and as pain-free as possible.  This end-of-life support is known as palliative and pet hospice care.

Stages of Hospice Care

Stage1: Palliative Care – pet requires certain care needs but death is not imminent.  An example would be an elderly pet that requires extra care but not necessarily intensive medical care.   Palliative care refers to medical care (combination of medications, supplements, and supportive care) that treats symptoms rather than focusing on curing the disease.  This care can be administered at home, with the supervision of the PMC Hospice Team.  The goals would be the pet’s comfort, support of quality of life for as long as possible.

When your pet starts to have more “bad” days than “good”, hospice may be the next natural step.
Stage2: Early Hospice- the pet has been diagnosed with a life-limiting condition, but is expected to live for at least 2 more months. This stage is a step up from palliative care, and may blend more intensive medical care with the palliative care plan.

Stage3: Advanced Hospice- the pet has been diagnosed with a life limiting or terminal condition, and the condition is advanced to the point that death is expected within a matter of days to weeks.

Hospice Care Provided by PMC

Our team is dedicated to helping you, your family, and your pet maintain your bond during this difficult time.  As you enter into this transitionary care, our PMC Hospice team will provide the following to get your family started with ease:

  • In-home or in-clinic consultations and visits.
  • Regular communication with you via phone, email, or video chat.
  • Instruction on palliative care and medication administration
  • Information on the disease progression and crisis management
  • Help in deciding if hospice-supported natural death or euthanasia is right for your situation and pet
  • Aftercare options and grief support

Pet Hospice is here to provide your pet with a personalized care plan that is right your them and your family.  Our goal is to make your pet’s final days comfortable and enjoyable.  Treatments and care can be adapted throughout the hospice process and can include the following:

Pain Management • Oral or injectable medications • Aquapuncture or Acupressure Points  • Cold Laser Therapy • Reducing environmental stressors

Nutritional Therapy • Guidance on diet • Fluid Therapy • Supplements and vitamins • Household Modifications• Wound Care

How much does Hospice care cost?

In-home initial consultation= $275 (incl up to 20 miles round-trip travel)

In-clinic initial consultation= $200

After the initial Hospice Consultation is completed, follow up care and communication is available through monthly packages.  Please contact a member of the PMC Hospice Team for further information.