Euthanasia, When is it Time ?

The most difficult time for a pet owner is when to decide to humanely euthanize their beloved pet. The veterinarians job is to diagnose and successfully treat any and all diseases a pet may have. We are not always successful as 25% of all pets die or are humanely euthanized because of cancer.  Although many cancers are treatable either by surgery, chemotherapy, radiation etc. there still comes a time when a decision has to be made. Only sometimes can a veterinarian recommend euthanasia as an only choice because of the severity of the condition or injury. There are many drugs to keep a pet out of pain but that is not always enough. The quality of life must be considered and there are criteria that can be used to estimate the quality of life, such as: 1.Happiness: does your pet want to play or seem to enjoy life and respond to your presence? 2.Pain: does your pet cry or moan, shake or t remble? Does he/she pant even when resting? 3.Appetite: Is your pet eating and shows interest in treats and snacks? Is there severe weight loss? 4.Water Consumption: Does your pet drink an adequate amount of water and urinate normally? 5.Mobility: Can your pet move reasonably normal and be somewhat active, even with medication? Or does he/she lay in one place? Can your pet get up and lie down without help? 6.Mental Status: Are there more good days than bad or does your pet seem depressed all the time and not have any energy or desire to be part of the family like before? 7.Hygiene: Does your pet have the ability to defecate and urinate away from where he/she sleeps? These are some guidelines to help the pet owner make the difficult and emotional decision of humane euthanasia. In my many years of clinical practice it is something you never get used to. The love of an animal is genuine and they deserv e careful consideration of the above criteria before such a serious final decision is made.