What might help if your animal is seriously ill or injured

 

Work with a good veterinarian.

(Ideally,  before you are faced with life-and-death decisions),  look for a vet who you trust and can really talk to.  Your vet should be knowledgeable,  compassionate,  patient,  and able to explain things in ways you can understand.  If your current vet does not have these qualities,  consider finding one who does.  Also,  like any doctor,  veterinarians have different specialties and levels of expertise with particular injuries or illnesses.  What experience has your vet had with your animalís condition / injury / illness?

Plan ahead

What are your financial and emotional limits?  What will you notice when your animal no longer has a quality of life (and you may need to consider euthanasia)?  What can you afford to spend on vet bills?  Is pet insurance an option that might help cover vet bills?  Who might be able to help and support you?  How will you take care of yourself?

Do everything that you can

Keeping in mind your financial and emotional limits,  consider every possible treatment,  get second opinions,  and decide what is best for your animal.  You know your animal better than anyone;  listen to all of the options and make informed decisions.  By carefully considering all of your options,  you will minimize later regrets.

Talk it through

Discuss your feelings and thoughts with someone who understands what your animal means to you.  Consider speaking with a counsellor who specializes in supporting animal owners or joining a pet loss support group.

Spend some quality time with your animal

This will also help to minimize later regrets and will enable you to make the best treatment decisions. You may want to take some photos,  make a paw print,  or start a memory book to help remember your animal if euthanasia is being considered.

If euthanasia is considered,  wait for a sign from your animal

For example,  when an animal stops eating,  is in obvious,  lasting physical distress,  or no longer seems to enjoy his/her favorite things,  this might indicate that there is no longer a quality of life. Again,  you know your animal better than anyone;  therefore,  you will know if euthanasia is the best choice

Grief is normal and expected

It is okay to cry and experience all kinds of emotions.  Grief is a natural,  automatic response when we are threatened with a loss (or an anticipated loss).  Be kind with yourself.  Take some time off of work if needed, remember your feelings are normal,  and honour your decisions.

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