True Care Veterinary Hospital


End-of-life (EOL) care is an especially difficult time for you the pet owner and the staff and doctors at TCVH. Unless emergency circumstances dictate, all EOL appointments are scheduled through a doctor. For an EOL visit to proceed the following must apply and we will confirm with you at the time of scheduling whether you are familiar with the requirements and are prepared:

  • You must be a client at TCVH (if not, a medical exam fee will be assessed at the time) – we are legally required to establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship to perform any veterinary care on your pet – this involves generating a basic medical record and performing a routine examination.
  • Your pet must have a medical or surgical diagnosis (if not, there must be obvious signs that the pet is in distress/pain – this will be OUR determination based on an objective assessment).
    • At minimum, there must be clinical evidence of a terminal/painful/untreatable condition on physical exam and the patient should be showing the appropriate clinical evidence of this.
    • If your pet is bright and alert and not showing these signs we will NOT proceed with EOL care – in these cases, we should perform basic testing to determine whether there is a treatable condition or evidence of end-organ disease, etc.
    • We will euthanize an animal who cannot be cared for due to a debilitating condition and for which the owner cannot provide basic and adequate supportive care at home (such as large dogs that are painful and immobile).
  • We will NOT euthanize an animal because they are old.
  • We will NOT euthanize any animal because they have become an inconvenience – if this is determined then you will be referred to one of numerous rescue agencies, house call services or the SPCA should you wish to pursue end-of-life care.
    • Examples of inconvenience are house soiling, “picky” appetite or being restless.
    • These pets are family and they need care and attention.
    • Convenience euthanasia is not ethical.
    • We will NOT euthanize an animal because you are moving and cannot take them with you – you will be referred to numerous rescue agencies or the SPCA (unless they satisfy the above criteria).
    • We will NOT perform more than one scheduled EOL care on any given day.
    • All fees for EOL care are payable at the date and time of the service.
    • EOL appointments are typically scheduled at the end of day to assure some privacy.

    If you feel that EOL is not appropriate at TCVH based on the above information you have some options:

    What if you want to witness the euthanasia procedure – what should you expect?

    There are several important things that you can do to ensure this most difficult visit goes as smoothly as it possibly can. If your pet is a dog, please make sure they have had a chance to relieve themselves as they may be very uncomfortable if not. Bring a blanket or large towel with you so that they may lay on something familiar (you may elect to have them go with this item or take it home with you). If you are bringing children with you, please prepare them for the visit and ensure that they are not too noisy as this can stress the pet.

    Please decide about after-care prior to the visit if possible (see below). Save a swatch of fur if desired. There are kits at hobby and craft stores with which you can make clay paw impressions (we recommend Crayola soft modeling clay – we have a limited ability to make these if requested).

    Here is how the process will work for witness euthanasia:

    • Upon arrival you will be escorted into a private room.
    • Our staff will confirm we are performing end-of-life and will handle the paperwork and charges prior to EOL being performed.
      • If you wish, you may have a discussion with the doctor regarding end-of-life and whether it is appropriate at that moment – we will give you our honest assessment (which in some cases may be a recommendation to euthanize).
    • We will have your pet brought back to treatment (with some exceptions) and place an intravenous catheter – this is more comfortable than using needles – you may not be present for this as we have to focus whenever performing medical procedures.
    • We will return your pet to you when the catheter is placed and you may spend time prior to proceeding – you may hold them in your arms or on your lap if desired.
    • Once your pet has passed, we will notify you and you may spend some additional time as needed.

    Non-witness euthanasia:

    Witnessing end-of-life is not for everyone and if you elect not to witness it does not mean you do not love your pet any less – it is important to do what you feel is right for you. Occasionally, we have clients who do not witness but remain at the clinic until we confirm that their pet has passed – we will act as their family during the process with the same level of care that we ourselves go through when we euthanize our own pets.

    Aftercare options:

    Cremation - there are two cremations options:

    • Private with return – your pet is individually cremated and returned to you
    • Scatter – your pets ashes are scattered after cremation

    Burial - there are two options for this:

    • Group – your pets remains will be buried with several other pets of similar – no grave marker
    • Private burial – grave and marker
      • Pine Rest can make arrangements with you and have the remains picked up for burial – you will be responsible for arranging this with Pine Rest prior to the end-of-life appointment so that they may pick up the remains in a timely manner for private burial.

    Home release - owners occasionally take their pets home with them. In some cases, they arrange private cremation or burial themselves. In New York State you are allowed to have your pet’s cremains interred with your remains. If you are electing to bury your pet on your property, be advised that most towns do not allow this. When burying a pet at home it is important the grave and remains be properly prepared. The remains should be wrapped in a towel or blanket and then in double plastic bags of heavy gage. The remains should be at least 3 feet below the top soil. Placing some woven wire (chicken wire) immediately above the remains can discourage wild animals from digging and getting to the remains.

Dr.Ross + Dr.Hill, owners of True Care Veterinary Hospital

After working at other clinics in the past, we knew we wanted to offer a different level of service and care for our clients - especially how they were treated. We offer treatment options, fair pricing and care we would expect for our own pets and especially enjoy educating our clients. We enjoy doing this every day at True Care and the clients and "their kids" are thrilled!