Here’s where we start talking about the nitty-gritty. Veterinary medicine may not be perfect, but we do some things right. Euthanasia is a great example of where my profession shines.

 “I give good death.”

That’s a quote from a veterinarian I greatly admire. He prides himself on treating end of life issues for his patients the same way he treat his own pets: With compassion, love and humanity. I do my best to emulate him. 

You might think it’s a bit weird, veterinarians patting themselves on the back for killing their patients. But you might want to reconsider your stance after experiencing how humane and peaceful a veterinarian-attended euthanasia can be. 

Companion animal veterinarians have nearly perfected the art of a “beautiful death.” Not only do we get the science right with our humane, two-injection protocol (a strong sedative before an overdose of anesthetic), we work hard to make this last experience with your pet a soothing, loving, memorable one. 

We may lay down blankets, ask you how you feel, explain what’s going to happen, bring you water, listen to your favorite stories about your pet’s life, let you take your time, stroke your loved one’s paw, etc. 

Many veterinary hospitals are even designing their new facilities with “euthanasia rooms” that offer less harsh lighting, softer furniture and more “homey” touches...all so you can have as personal and stress-free an experience as possible in your pet’s last moments. 

Then there’s my favorite option: The at-home euthanasia. While not all veterinary hospitals are set up to provide this service, some definitely go out of their way to make it happen should you express an interest. Since not all hospitals carry the kind of liability insurance this service requires, some veterinarians now specialize in at-home euthanasia services. These vets will drive out to wherever you are to make sure everything goes just right. 

Compared to the human medical profession, veterinarians have a lot to learn when it comes to science. Nonetheless, it’s my take that human docs could take a page out of our book when it comes to end of life care. 

Don't forget to email me ([email protected]) the topics you’d most like to hear about––medical, money, ethical or otherwise––and prepare yourself for my opinionated answers.

Dr. Patty Khuly