What Is Veterinary Hospice?

Love Always

Hospice care is commonly utilized in human medicine for people who have a life-limiting illness that is no longer responding to traditional, often intensive treatment.  Hospice care often involves transitioning to caring for the patient in their home rather than having them remain hospitalized.

Many people do not realize that hospice is a developing field in veterinary medicine, and a certification program has been developed for both veterinarians and technicians that are interested in hospice care.  Veterinary hospice shifts the treatment focus from cure to one of comfort and allows pet owners to play an active role in caring for their pet’s needs.  Hospice care bridges the gap between stopping treatment for a particular disease or condition and the end of your pet’s life by providing comfort care and management that improves quality of life.  

The goals of treatment in veterinary hospice are centered around pain management, improving and maintaining quality of life, and providing more care in the home environment. Hospice also includes making decisions about end of life care, including whether to have your pet pass at home of a natural death, or providing euthanasia when the time comes.  

Veterinary hospice can involve home visits for all evaluations and treatments, a combination of in-home and in-hospital care, and care at a full-service hospice facility, of which there are very few in the United States at this time.  Regardless of the set-up, hospice care involves educating you, as owners, about how to provide for your pet family member at home, allowing you to serve as a caretaker by actively participating in caring for your pet.

Your pet and you have options

Hospice care at home may involve:

  • Administration of fluids or medications under the skin
  • Wound care or bandaging
  • Modification of the home environment to help the pet move around or prevent injury  

This could include blocking off stairways, installing ramps over stairs to the outside, providing raised or lowered food/water bowls, installing non-slip rugs, etc…

  • Maintaining proper hygiene for patients with limited mobility
  • Light exercise therapy including massage and/or range-of-motion movements

At UVH, Dr. Beck is certified in Hospice and Palliative Care. She is here to assist in transitioning your pet to hospice care, providing resources and education in how to care for your pet at home.  This can be a difficult time for you as a caretaker, and she and UVH are here to address not only the needs of your pet but of you and your family as well. We have resources available to help with anticipating grief, pet loss, spiritual guidance, and memorializing your pet in the way that best honors your pet’s memory.  

If you have questions about hospice and palliative care, feel that your pet may benefit from these services, or just want further information, please feel free to contact us at 318-797-5522.  a.beck@uvhvets.com

Dr. Beck is here to help outline options and give you peace of mind.