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Kansas State University

EUTHANASIA

 

Making the choice to euthanize a beloved pet can be difficult. At the Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center, our desire is to help guide you through this end-of-life decision. Our goal is to answer your questions and to make the process as stress-free as possible for you and your pet.

One of the most difficult decisions pet owners must make is: “When is it the right time to euthanize?” Our doctors and staff can help discuss medical and quality-of-life issues that are unique to your pet. Our hope is that these discussions will ease the burden of deciding when the time is right.

Pet owners may want to be present during the euthanasia procedure. You can opt to not be present and still be reassured that your pet will be left in loving and caring hands. If you wish to be present, we have a Compassion Room where peace and privacy can be offered. You will also have the option to hold or stroke your pet if so desired. If there are children in the family, we can answer questions you have regarding how they might be involved.

The final decision relates to body care after the euthanasia. We can provide the options of mass or private cremation or an environmentally safe process of decomposition. You also have the option to bury your pet in areas where it is legal. Your doctor may ask you if you wish to have a post-mortem exam (necropsy) performed. There are various reasons you may wish to have this done. The body care options are available in most cases following a post-mortem examination.

Pet owners often have questions about the euthanasia procedure. You will be asked to sign a consent form. This form also includes questions pertaining to post-mortem exams, body care and any possible bites to humans within the past 15 days. You will also be asked if you would like a clay paw made in remembrance of your pet. This will be painted and then mailed to you in a few weeks. There is no charge for this service. We then typically ask to have your pet for a brief period of time to place an intravenous catheter to help facilitate the procedure. It also allows you to hold your pet if you desire. Your pet may or may not be given a sedative. Before euthanasia, your doctor will discuss what may happen during administration of the euthanasia solution. Euthanasia is a rapid and peaceful process. You may spend time alone with your pet before and after the euthanasia.

The KSU-VHC is fortunate to have a full-time grief counselor, Dr. Mac Hafen. His services are free for our clients. Dr. Hafen understands pet loss and his services are invaluable when trying to make a decision to euthanize or when dealing with feelings that arise after the death of a pet. You can expect full confidentiality when speaking with Dr. Hafen.

We hope we never have to make the decision to euthanize our pets, but it is unfortunately a part of pet ownership. Please feel free to speak with our Pet Health clinicians about questions or concerns you have about euthanasia. We will work in partnership with you during this difficult time. Please call 785-532-5690 to contact a Pet Health clinician or Dr. Hafen.