Talking With Pet Doctors

The Most Awful Animal News: What To Do When You Find Out Your Pet Is Terminal

by Christy Adams

To some, a pet is just an animal, even replaceable if something happens to it, but for most people, pets are family. The most awful news you can hear from a veterinarian is that your pet has a terminal condition and won't be around for much longer. As heartbreaking as this scenario is, you still have decisions to make and to look after yourself as well.

Don't Underestimate The Effects Of Losing Your Pet

Especially if there's a human or two in your life saying "It's just a dog." or "It's only a cat.", you may feel pressure to simply get over your loss, but that's not how it really works. Losing a pet means mourning your pet, and you should allow yourself that healing. If you live alone, outside of pets, the loss will likely be felt even harder. Whatever the circumstances, though, you must allow the process of mourning to unfold, without regard to anyone else's judgement.

Find Out About End Of Life Care

As a disease progresses, changes occur in the patient. You'll need to have an in-depth conversation with your vet, so you can understand exactly what your beloved pet will go through. The vet may feel the most humane course of action is to euthanize the animal before suffering becomes too great, so be prepared. While it's hard to let an animal go, it's even harder when they are in pain. 

On the other hand, your pet could have some quality time left; in which case, you may need to make special arrangements around the house or in your life, such as cutting back on work hours, if you're able, or learning how to administer medications and other treatments. Absorb the information in stages, allowing yourself time to think, react and prepare. If your pet has time, you need to make the most of it.

Go To The Vet Clinic With Support

When the time comes to say goodbye, you should have someone else drive you to the vet clinic, if at all possible. Not only do you not want to have to worry about your driving capabilities under such emotional duress, you want to be able to keep your pet comfortable, too. The veterinarian may allow you a few moments together, before the need to act as a medical doctor takes over. 

If you'd like to have your pet's ashes at home or are interested in a burial plot at a local cemetery for animals, you should cover these details beforehand. It's also important to have a friend help you with those matters, too.

Give Yourself Time Before Getting Another Animal

You may or may not feel like finding a new pet right away, but for practicality's sake, it's usually best to wait. Talk about your loss with someone who cares and give yourself time to grieve. Pets are amazing therapy in life, especially through hard times, but if you run out and get another one too quickly, the decision may not be well thought out or in the best interest of your household or lifestyle. 

When you lose an animal you're close to, your heart may break and your world turn dark for a while, but it's important to act in the best interest of the terminal animal as events unfold and to make sure you're okay, too. Lean on people around you and listen to the advice of a good veterinarian. Time will help you heal and you'll have many memories to hold onto.

For more information, reach out to a vet clinic like Stewartstown Vet Services