Euthanasia - What to Expect

When it comes to the difficult decision to provide your pet with humane euthanasia at home - many people want to know before hand what to expect and how to prepare.  We do our best to be available same day/next day/after hours - though please understand, as a one doctor practice - we aren't always able to accommodate last minute end of life care appointments.  If you are needing services outside regular business hours (see hours below) - please TEXT (775) 338-8500 if possible, as voicemail messages are not checked after hours.

If you are unsure if it is time to consider euthanasia, we can schedule a "quality of life" evaluation where we will go over what your pet is experiencing, medical history, current medications etc. and help guide you through the decision making process.

In preparation for the doctor's arrival - your pet can have ANY treat they want - they can have their usual medications if that makes them feel better/helps relieve their discomfort.  We can be anywhere your pet is most comfortable - on a bed, sofa, in the yard - really wherever they want to be.  It is preferable if we can be somewhere with adequate lighting - but not essential.  If we will be somewhere with delicate carpeting or an expensive piece of furniture - you might want to consider having some absorptive bedding/blankets/towels under them in case they urinate or defecate - which is common after end of life.

When the doctor arrives for the euthanasia appointment, she will obtain your authorization to proceed before administering the first of two injections.  The first injection is a sedative which will help your pet become extremely relaxed and relieve any pain, anxiety or discomfort they might be experiencing.  Once the sedation has taken full effect, she will administer the second injection.  This is the euthanasia injection.  Usually this injection is given in a vein (IV injection) but in some pets (for example - those who are extremely geriatric or dehydrated) the second injection will be given via other routes if a vein is not accessible.  The euthanasia injection works very quickly when given IV, usually within 1-2 minutes, a bit longer if a vein can not be accessed.

While your pet is relaxing with the sedation injection, the doctor will describe what to expect after the euthanasia injection is administered.  Most of what we expect from end of life comes from what we see in the movies - which is quite unlike reality.  In addition, as mentioned above, your pet might urinate or defecate as all the muscles release - we can always slide a towel/blanket or absorptive pad under them if that is a concern - or we can choose a location where that won't be an issue.

After the euthanasia - most people elect for us to handle the care of remains.  Our service offers cremation with ashes returned to you, cremation with ashes scattered, or standard care of remains - which is not a cremation - it is a mass burial option.  We don't need to know what you want to do until we arrive - and we can discuss the options with you either over the phone or at the time of the appointment.  If your pet has a favorite toy or blanket or treat - that can stay with them if you would like - regardless of what care of remains option you choose.  Some people opt to take care of the remains themselves either through burial or through one of the two local pet crematories in town.  We can not offer advice on home burial - if you are concerned about the legality of that - please contact local officials for advice.

While this answers some of the common questions about in home euthanasia - please feel free to contact the office about any other questions or concerns you might have...