Euthanasia is the term used for the process of humanely ending life. Veterinarians are permitted to perform this procedure to end suffering, or if it is deemed that there are no other alternatives.
Every goodbye is different, and we aim to accommodate any requests that may make the process easier for you and your family. It is always a difficult time when a much loved pet no longer has quality of life and end of life decisions must be made. The information below provides you with a realistic guide to how the procedure is performed at Vet MD and the sorts of decisions you will be required to make at this time.
Book an appointment
Unless there is an emergency that requires immediate euthanasia, please try to book an appointment so we may schedule you at a time that allows plenty of privacy and time with your pet.
Do you wish to be present?
Many pet owners want to be close to their pets as they are put to sleep, however others do not want this to be their final memory of them. We respect both points of view and will ask upon arrival for your preference. If you do wish to be present, you will be given close access to your pet once the veterinarian and nurse are in place to perform the procedure.
Do you wish to have a post mortem performed?
It can bring comfort and understanding to families for a post mortem to be performed on their pet, particularly if they are a young pet that has become ill suddenly, or if it is a breeding animal as you will need to ensure the illness is not passed down to offspring. A common post-mortem is an investigative procedure performed professionally on-site, usually immediately after the euthanasia procedure, and results are made available to families in subsequent days, depending on the time it takes to test tissue. The body is treated with gentle hands and complete respect during this procedure, and is then lovingly sewn back up for you. It is very important that you request this when booking, to ensure time and resources can be allocated to the extended procedure. It is not possible for owners to be present for a post mortem.
There are three options in taking care of your pets’ body once they have passed, and it can be helpful to discuss these with your family beforehand.
Home burial - If you have a special place on your property where you can bury your pet, there is no charge for body care. You may wish to bring a favourite blanket to take them home in, or alternatively we provide a biodegradable burial bag at no cost. Consider all local by-laws if you wish to bury your pet somewhere, and if you’re renting your home, understand that you may eventually have to leave your pet there.
Council cremation - A service is provided where deceased pets are cremated with other pets and the ashes cannot be returned to owners. There is a fee for this, which is payable to the veterinary surgery at the time of the euthanasia
Private cremation or cemetery burial - We work with fantastic companies who are truly devoted to respectful handling and care of your deceased pet. You can choose to have your pet cremated at the special pet crematorium or buried in the beautiful pet cemetery. With cremation, you can get the ashes returned in a huge range of urns, boxes or personal keepsakes and these costs are all handled directly with the company. It is helpful to do some research prior to making the appointment at the veterinary surgery so we may let the crematorium know your wishes as soon as possible.
Visit Pets in Peace for more information and prices. Cremation/ burial costs are paid directly to the crematorium.
On the day..
When you arrive at the veterinary surgery, the receptionist will prepare an authorisation form which asks you to make the above choices. Your invoice will be completed based on these choices and full payment for the veterinary surgery’s services is due at this time.
If you do not wish to be present for the euthanasia procedure and you have chosen a cremation option, you can say your goodbyes to your pet and leave the surgery at this point.
If you wish to be present for the euthanasia procedure, your pet will be taken into the treatment room by a nurse to have an IV catheter fitted, while you wait in the private consultation room. In old and sick pets, low blood pressure and dehydration means it is more difficult to catheterise your pet, so we take our time and let the pet get comfortable with us first. We know this time apart from them must seem like an eternity, but we want to minimise stress and discomfort to your pet.
We will then bring them back to you in the consultation room. The veterinarian and a nurse will be present in the room and a long tube will run from your pets forearm to the veterinarian. The first drug we administer is a sedative and will make your pet very sleepy. They will often curl up on your lap or put their head on you. The second drug we administer is an anaesthetic which is given at an overdose level, to stop your pets’ heart. It is dark green in colour, for safety reasons. It is flushed through the tubing with plain saline fluid and your pets heart will stop, almost immediately. Sometimes they can appear to take a big breath or twitch slightly, which is simply the anaesthetic working its way around the body. It is important to prepare yourself that your pet may urinate or have a bowel movement at this time, when everything ‘relaxes’ and know this is completely normal. The veterinarian will then listen for a heartbeat to confirm their passing.
You are offered private time with your pet and can then leave the surgery quietly when you’re ready. If you are taking your pet home for burial, we will remove the catheter from their arm and gently move them to a biodegradable bag, or leave them on the special blanket if you brought one.
We understand the great sadness that comes with losing a pet, and you should not be embarrassed or afraid to show this emotion. You will often see the veterinarian or nurse with tears in their eyes as well!
If you have chosen an individual cremation or burial with a pet crematorium, a representative will be in contact from that company over the coming days. You may also wish to consider a funeral for your pet, regardless of your Body Care choice.
We greatly respect this difficult time for your family and if there are any religious or cultural customs you wish for us to observe during this procedure, simply discuss them with the receptionist when booking.