What to Expect for a Euthanasia Visit

When the doctor arrives at your home, she will first give your pet a injection that is a combination of 1. strong pain control, 2. anti-anxiety medication, and 3. sedation. This ensures he is feeling pain-free, worry-free, and starting to get sleepy. This usually takes about 10 minutes, depending a bit on his body.

Once he is calm and pain-free, the doctor gives the euthanasia solution. This is literally an overdose of an anesthetic agent, so it will cause him to continue to get comfy and sleepy until he goes under general anesthesia, then passes away essentially in his sleep. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is anything we can do to make this process easy on you as his family, but we can certainly make it easy and stress-free for your beloved pet.

Aftercare

If you would like us to assist with your beloved pet’s aftercare, the doctor will take your pet right with her when she leaves your home. If your dog is more than 40 lbs, we typically ask for assistance to help move him to the doctor’s car. The doctor brings a cot-type stretcher with her, and a cozy blanket to ensure we are able to do this in a dignified and respectful manner.

The options we offer for cremation are that your pet can either be cremated just by himself, so you can have his ashes back to you (Private Cremation). Or else he could be cremated with other pets, and then his ashes are respectfully scattered, so you do not receive anything back (Communal Cremation).

If you elect Private Cremation, you can pick up his ashes from the crematory, located in Arlington Heights, for no additional charge.

We can also have him hand-delivered to you by a courier service, with prices starting at $70. (See Prices)

You also have the option of arranging for aftercare or burial on your own, in which case we would leave your dear pet with you.

What to Expect at a Hospice Visit:

The doctor will focus on different approaches to help maintain comfort and quality of life and give you a good idea of what to expect in the near future. We do not perform any diagnostic tests, such as blood work or x-rays, and instead focus on comfort-oriented measures.
When possible, we will obtain veterinary records for your pet before the appointment, and have you complete a list of questions to think about ahead of time. This will help her focus on what is most important to both you and your pet.

When the doctor arrives at your home, she will examine your pet thoroughly, and will talk through his history and discuss everything that is going on with him, to get a better sense of how he is really doing. The appointment typically lasts about 45 minutes to an hour because there is often a great deal to discuss, and we want to ensure that we are focusing on your pet’s well-being, as well as your quality of life as his family.

After the visit, the doctor will email you a summary of all that you have discussed, and the plan going forward, as well as signs to watch for. It can be overwhelming to try to remember everything, so it can be helpful to have all this information easily accessible in writing. We will also send a summary to your regular veterinarian, to keep everybody in the loop, to ensure we are all doing what we can to make everything easier on you and your beloved pet as well.

FAQs
What does hospice care involve?
  • The idea behind hospice medicine is that we focus on quality of life, including that of your pet and family alike.  The goal is to keep your pet comfortable and happy, even if this has the potential to shorten his or her lifespan.
Who do I contact if I have follow up questions?
  • You and your A Gentle Goodbye veterinarian should plan a timeframe to follow up in order to discuss your pet’s progress, and any further changes that might need to be made.  At this time, you may call or email us, or our office will reach out to you. You can always feel free to contact us at Reception@AGentleGoodbye.com or (224) 442-4427. 
Will you tell my regular veterinarian everything we’ve discussed?
  • Unless you request that we do not do so, we will email your regular veterinarian (and any specialists) a medical report of all that we have discussed, including any changes in medications or protocols we have recommended.  Unless you prefer otherwise, we try to work closely with your regular veterinarian.  This can also be useful if it is easier to obtain specific medications from their hospital, so they are aware of all that has been discussed.
What do I do if it’s an emergency?
  • We are typically in the office from 8 AM to 6 PM seven days a week, and you can call us at (224) 442-4427 or email Reception@AGentleGoodbye.com.  Some days are busier than others, so we will certainly try to answer calls/emails immediately, but if it is an emergency that requires attention sooner than we are able to answer, please do have a back-up plan in mind, such as your regular veterinarian or local emergency hospital.
  • If it is after our typical business hours, we do still make every effort to be available.  It is always worth calling us to see if we are available, even in the middle of the night.  However, it is unfortunately not always possible for us to be available, so be sure you know the best route to your local emergency hospital if necessary.
What is included with my hospice visit?
  • A Gentle Goodbye veterinarian will:
    • Write an email to you to summarize all you have discussed, including any findings from the physical examination that are important, changes in medications suggested, plan for going forward, and relevant quality of life issues.
    • Call to notify your regular veterinarian, write a medical record explaining the findings and plan, and email this to your regular veterinarian as well.
    • Call in any necessary medications to a pharmacy or to your regular veterinarian.
  • Your A Gentle Goodbye veterinarian will help determine if your pet will require follow-up examination(s).  Often after an initial hospice visit, follow-up care can be addressed via phone or email.  Your A Gentle Goodbye veterinarian will be available by email approximately 1-2 times per week to address medical questions and follow-up as needed. 
    • We strive to provide follow up care and support during this incredibly difficult time.  While the veterinarian might not be available due to varying schedules and commitments to help other families, the A Gentle Goodbye support team is readily available to help whenever possible.  
    • Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can help in any way:
      • Phone:  (224) 442-4427
      • Email:  Reception@AGentleGoodbye.com