Pet Euthanasia

Martensville Veterinary Hospital has the policy that we will not perform euthanasia on a healthy animal; therefore, an exam is required before we go ahead with the procedure. If the veterinarian does decide to go ahead with the procedure the exam fee will be waived.  We will make an exception if your pet has been seen at our clinic recently and the decision for euthanasia has been discussed with, and authorized by, the veterinarian ahead of time.

It can be difficult to make the decision to euthanize your pet.  Euthanasia is a personal and loving decision when their quality of life has deteriorated.  It takes courage to assume this last duty and it is our responsibility to our pet, who has given us so much love and companionship. The bond between pet and owner is very special. You are their trusted companion, guardian and friend. You have accepted responsibility for their life. If you are having trouble making this decision, our veterinary team is a good source of advice, but we can’t make the decision for you.

Some things to think about

  • Is your pet in incurable pain or continual discomfort which cannot be alleviated? Pain scoring chart for cats or dogs can help you decide this.
  • Is treatment of the condition no longer possible?
  • Have they suffered severe injuries from which they will never recover?
  • Do they have an age-related or illness-related condition which cannot be alleviated and/or which could cause extreme financial stress to your family?
  • Are they suffering from a terminal illness which has now reduced their quality of life to a degree where they no longer interact or communicate with you or demonstrate their former personality?
  • Do they have a behavior problem which you cannot cope with and which means they cannot be re-adopted or has seriously injured a human or another animal?
  • Is your pet able to eat and drink, play and interact with you and do they have a good quality of sleep or do they seem to just lie there most of the time?

Process of Euthanasia

When the time comes for your pet to be euthanized, you will have the choice whether to be present for the process of euthanasia and what to do with your pet’s body afterwards. The following is a detailed description of these choices.

It is up to you whether or not you’d like to be present for the procedure. Some owners feel it is their duty to be there, while others prefer to have the last image of their pet be while they are alive. Rest assured that if you choose not to be present, that the staff at Martensville Veterinary Hospital will treat your pet with the kindness and respect that they deserve. Many people will bring a family member or a friend with them for emotional support or to have someone to drive them home. We do have a quiet room where you can sit before, during and after the procedure, whether it is done in your presence of not. You can also leave out a separate door so you don’t have to walk through the lobby to the main entrance.

At our hospital, euthanasia is performed by an anesthetic overdose injected into the vein. First, all their pain is taken away, then they go into a sleep-like plane, and then they get deeper and deeper until their heart stops. In most cases, we take your pet to the treatment area to place an intravenous catheter into a vein on their front leg. This way, their last memory is not us poking them with a needle. In other cases, a veterinary technologist may gently restrain your pet and hold the leg while the veterinarian clips the hair and inserts a needle into the vein to inject the anesthetic. If your pet is upset, very painful, scared, aggressive, or difficult to restrain a sedative may be given prior to the euthanasia. This will make the situation less stressful for you and your pet. Once the anesthetic overdose injection is given, the pet loses consciousness within seconds, and death follows shortly after, usually within two minutes. The pet may urinate or defecate at this time as the muscles relax. The veterinarian will check for a pulse and tell you when the heart has stopped and they have passed on.

If you would like to have the procedure done at your house, you can schedule to have a veterinarian and technician from Martensville Veterinary Hospital come to your home. Unfortunately, there are limited times we can do this and there may be technician and after hours fees as well as our regular house call fee. Many owners feel having us come to their home less traumatic for them and their pet than coming into the hospital. This is a decision that should be made by the entire family. Please take into account that some people may not want a constant reminder of their pet being euthanized in the home where they live every day.

You have the choice of a mass or preferred cremation. With a mass cremation you will not receive your pet’s ashes back and they will be spread for you. With a preferred cremation, your pet is isolated from other pets during the process so that you may get the ashes of your pet back. You may also select a private cremation, where your pet is cremated alone. With preferred and private cremations, the ashes come back in a satchel, or you can choose to receive them back in a sealed urn. The urn is an additional cost and can be selected ahead of time. You can read more about cremation and view urns at prairiepetcremation.com. You can also choose to take your pet with you to bury at home, however, most towns and cities do not allow pet burial in your backyard. We do not have a pet cemetery that we recommend at this time because most are unregulated and can be destroyed as soon as ownership changes.

If you are considering euthanasia for your pet, please feel free to contact us. You may also want to look at our memorialization suggestions, or links about pet loss.


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