Hospice care isn’t just for people it can also be for pets.  My most recent experiences involve my client with Parkinson’s disease whose health declined extremely rapidly and at the same time the decline of a family pet.  Know that I do not wish to minimize the death of a client by relating it to the death of a family pet but in relating the two I wish to explain the thought process and emotions involved in both and to relate my personal experience.  My pet, C.C. a small bichon frise has had declining kidney function for the past year.  She has been in and out of the veterinary hospital for malnutrition and dehydration (her not wanting to eat or drink) and related complications.  Most recently she stopped eating and had to urinate continually every hour or so.  After a long sleepless night of letting her out every hour my husband and I called the vet.  He had us bring her in and after running tests acknowledged that she was unable to retain fluid, thus it continually needs to be expelled.  He stated that she was not too far advanced and that it was possible to provide intravenous medication to remedy the elimination problems.  We discussed waiting several days to see if the medication would work but also her quality of life and whether it was best to put her down.  At this point the vet believes that she can still have good quality of life if the problem can be taken care of, however we all know that there will be a point where it will return and the time will come where it’s best not to continue treatment.  These are the types of discussions that are sometimes easier to have about pets than loved ones.

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About Pamela Wilson

PAMELA D. WILSON, MS, BS/BA, NCG, CSA helps caregivers and aging adults solve caregiving problems and manage caregiving needs through online programs, live support groups, and an extensive caregiving library that includes articles, podcasts, videos, and webinars.

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