The End of Life

Our pets are part of the family and give us great pleasure and comfort.  We form a special, lasting relationship with them.  As they become weaker the realisation and sad acceptance of losing them is very difficult.

Some animals die peacefully in their sleep but more often it is necessary to make a decision to “put them to sleep” (euthanasia) to avoid suffering.  This is one of the hardest parts of pet ownership and we will do everything we can to support you through this difficult time.

Where does it happen?

A euthanasia will usually take place at the surgery but, if you prefer, we can arrange a home visit.  There are advantages to each, and every case has its own considerations.  Please feel free to discuss with us the best arrangements for you and your pet.

What happens when my cat is put to sleep?

Cats are euthanased with an overdose of anaesthetic injected directly into the bloodstream. If the patient is anxious or agitated a sedative may be given first and the patient is left to relax quietly.   Fur is clipped, usually from a front leg, to allow easy visualisation of a vein.  The injection is given either through a catheter placed after clipping or directly through a needle.

The anaesthetic works very quickly: the breathing will slow and, when deeply asleep, the heart will stop.  The eyes will not close, and the bladder and bowel may relax.  Sometimes, there may be a few deep gasps. These can be upsetting and you may think your pet is not actually gone, however  they are natural reflexes which occur after death and are nothing to worry about. There may be also some muscle twitching.

What happens afterwards?

Some owners prefer to bury their pet at home: this is allowed and we can give appropriate advice.  Alternatively we can arrange cremation at the West Suffolk Pet Crematorium – a local firm offering a range of cremations including individual cremation with return of the ashes, either for scattering or in a special casket.  We have a duty of care to your deceased pet and you can rest assured that your pet will be handled with the same respect that would be afforded to our own pets.

Please ask

If there is anything you wish to ask please do not hesitate to discuss it with our vets or nurses.  We realise this is a very difficult and painful time and will do everything we can to help you through it.  There are other sources of information on pet bereavement including useful websites such as www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-bereavement-support