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Pet Talk: Making the difficult decision – when euthanasia is the right choice for your pet

Wednesday 10 April 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Opinion, Pet Talk

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Pet Talk: Making the difficult decision – when euthanasia is the right choice for your pet
While the decision to euthanise a pet is never easy, it can be the kindest option when an animal’s suffering becomes too great to bear. TE ARE MANU/24040901

For pet owners, the decision to euthanise a beloved companion animal is undoubtedly one of the most agonising choices they may face, writes Te Are Manu’s medical director Dr Rose Hasegawa.

The thought of saying goodbye to a cherished member of the family can be heart-wrenching, clouded by feelings of guilt, grief, and uncertainty. However, euthanasia is a compassionate option that, in certain situations, can spare animals from unnecessary suffering and pain.

First and foremost, it’s crucial for pet owners to recognise the signs of suffering in their pets. Animals, much like humans, can experience pain and discomfort due to illness, injury, or old age. It is our responsibility to monitor their well-being and quality of life.

Signs of distress may include:

Persistent Pain: Obvious signs of discomfort such as limping, difficulty breathing, or vocalising in pain. For example, a dog or cat who has been hit by a car with injuries beyond repair and healing, an animal with severe arthritis who can no longer walk or stand or an animal who is struggling to breathe due to heart disease.

Decreased Appetite: Loss of interest in food or water can indicate underlying health issues. This is often accompanied with weight loss.

Lethargy: Unusual fatigue or unwillingness to engage in normal activities.

Incontinence: Loss of control over bladder or bowels, leading to accidents in the house.

Quality of life: Consider whether your pet can still enjoy their favourite activities and interactions with you and other pets.

When faced with a pet’s declining health, pet owners may struggle to determine the appropriate course of action. It can be helpful to consult with a veterinarian who can provide guidance and support during this difficult time. Vets are trained to assess an animal’s condition and offer recommendations based on their expertise. Euthanasia is a humane and painless procedure performed by a veterinarian.

While the decision to euthanise a pet is never easy, it can be the kindest option when an animal’s suffering becomes too great to bear. One of the most challenging aspects of euthanasia is knowing when the time is right. Pet owners may struggle with feelings of guilt or doubt, wondering if they’re making the right choice. However, it’s essential to prioritise the welfare of the animal above all else.

Ultimately, the decision to euthanise a pet is deeply personal and should be made with careful consideration and compassion. It’s essential to trust your instincts and seek support from loved ones during this emotional time. Remember that euthanasia is a final act of love and selflessness, allowing pets to pass peacefully and free from pain.

By recognising the signs of distress and consulting with a veterinarian, owners can make informed decisions that prioritise their pet’s well-being. While saying goodbye is never easy, euthanasia provides a dignified end to an animal’s life, sparing them from further pain and discomfort.