What Is Animal Hospice & Palliative Care?

APPOINTMENT

Relieving Your Pet’s Physical Pain

Animal hospice or palliative care is focused on relieving your pet’s physical pain. The goal of this type of care is to improve their comfort while supporting pet owners until they’re ready to consider compassionate euthanasia for their companion. Dr. Coulter works with owners and pets in palliative care, enabling family members to provide as much medical and emotional support at home as possible. This time allows families to adjust to their pet’s progressive disease and say goodbye in a peaceful, more personal way. Many pet parents choose hospice care to have the time to plan for their death and to ensure that all the decisions about the pet’s needs are guided by their personal interpretation of the situation. If you have the resources to support comfort care, the time and desire to care for your pet during the last days, weeks, and sometimes months of their life, and a good support team in place, then hospice care may be the right choice for you and your pet.

Examples of Steps We Take During Palliative Care for Pets
  • Antibiotics for chronic skin, dental, or urinary tract infections
  • Anti-anxiety medications for emotional distress caused by limited mobility, nighttime pacing, or signs of cognitive dysfunction
  • Pain medications, including narcotic and non-narcotic medications
  • Heat, massage, and physical therapy to improve mobility and comfort
  • Appetite stimulants to improve eating and overall well-being
  • Fluids for patients with kidney disease or dehydration
  • Medications to relieve nausea or other symptoms limiting quality of life
  • The use of mobility aids
Conditions That May Warrant Pet Hospice and Palliative Care
  • A variety of cancers
  • Organ failure (kidneys, liver, and heart are common examples)
  • Arthritis or other diseases affecting mobility
  • Dementia and other cognitive problems
  • General “slowing down” or the worsening of chronic conditions
  • Failure to thrive
  • Any life-limiting condition that is contributing to an excessive burden of caregiving for a family or treatments and interventions that are unacceptable to the pet or owners