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End-of-life care is not a topic to avoid

posted May 11th, 2015 by
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With five senior pets in my home (they are all 10 years and up!), end of life care is something that is very much front of mind. One dog has a heart tumor and has had heart surgery among a variety of other procedures. Another dog just started taking medication for arthritis. My three kitties are faring better at the moment but are the oldest animals in the house.

So, some recent articles that popped up in my Facebook feed on euthanasia for pets caught my eye. It’s a topic I really don’t want to think about, unfortunately it is one that will need to be addressed whether I stick my head in the sand or not.

I took a deep breath and clicked on the first link. “A Vet’s View of Home Euthanasia for Pets” actually provided some relief and presented an option I hadn’t considered because I hadn’t spent much time considering any options at all.

The idea of keeping my babies in the surroundings they are most comfortable and familiar surrounded by the family who loves them was comforting to me and would hopefully be a comfort to them. It would mean at a time they were most likely in pain, they would not have to take an uncomfortable car ride to a place that already causes them anxiety.

At my latest vet visit, I made sure to ask if this was a service that could be provided. I was relieved to hear that it absolutely is something that I can plan on for my babies when the time comes.

The second article that I noticed flipped the tables. A woman who died last November requested in her will that her healthy dog be put down, cremated and buried with her.

Currently, it appears that the euthanasia has been put on hold. But here was yet another topic that I had avoided instead of facing. What would happen to my animals if I died before they did?

While I would never consider having a healthy put euthanized just because I had died, what would happen to them if I didn’t make a plan? Would they potentially end up in a shelter and put down because of their old age? My love of animals came from my parents, who have a small menagerie of their own. If godparents for pets are a thing, I need to secure some.

Both articles have given me some things to think about and I definitely have some planning to do when it comes to end-of-life plans for my pets and myself. Not pleasant, but it is something that is important to prepare for.

Have you made decisions about how you will handle your pet’s last day? Or made plans for your pets in your will? Let me know in the comments below.

– Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]

One lucky dog

posted June 12th, 2013 by
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It’s almost been a year since our family found out our beloved Boston Terror has a heart tumor. When Yoda had heart surgery last August, we were told the average life-span post operation was about three months.

While the tumor could not be removed, the procedure put a window in the pericardial sac to prevent fluid from putting pressure on his heart.

Recently, I had to make an emergency trip to OVS because Yoda was struggling to breathe. Fluid had started to build around his lungs, making it difficult for them to expand. A chest tap removed the fluid and an ultrasound showed that the tumor has only grown by a couple of millimeters over the last 10 months.

Yoda came home the next day a brand new dog. And I am one thankful dog momma.

Having each of my six animals around is a daily blessing, but Yoda in particular continues to be a powerful reminder of that fact.

I hope he sticks around for a while, but whether it be weeks, months or maybe even another year, this little dog has certainly made a big impression on my heart.

-Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]