What To Expect
You can contact us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (727-210-5517) 7 days a week. We respond as quickly as we can. Calls made to us after 5pm will be returned by noon of the next day. Our voicemail or auto responder will be more specific about when you can expect to hear back from us. Our Facebook page will also have updates on availability.
We are happy to answer questions and talk to you about your pet’s quality of life. Please understand that without a physical examination, we cannot give you specific advice about your pet’s medical care. Weekend and evening appointments are available on a limited basis. The more notice you give us, the better the chance that we can get to you after hours.
If you schedule a house call pet palliative care/hospice or pet euthanasia appointment, the veterinarian may bring an assistant or technician to help. For everyone’s safety, please allow our staff to handle your pet for examinations and injections. For pet euthanasia appointments, you will be able to hold your pet immediately following the sedative injection. If your pet is fearful or doesn’t like to be handled, please let us know ahead of time so we can make arrangements to reduce their stress level.
Photograph provided by Laurie Meehan-Elmer.
Pet palliative care is for patients who do not have a terminal illness but do have a condition that will eventually lead to euthanasia. The most common of these conditions is arthritis. Large dogs that are painful can be extremely difficult to move. A ride in the car could set them back for days. Painful cats often show their pain by misbehaving in the clinic. A frantic cat can easily hurt themselves or someone else when they are painful. If your pet needs comfort care for arthritis or other conditions that decrease quality of life, we can help!
Visits take place in your home and last approximately 1-3 hours. We will need your records from your veterinarian (including lab results and doctor’s notes) sent to email@example.com or faxed to 866-622-6461 beforehand for review. At the visit, we’ll talk about your pet’s condition, a physical examination will be performed by a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Veterinarian, and recommendations will be made for care.
Please click here to learn more about palliative care from Dr. Buisson’s videos and podcasts.
Pet Hospice Appointments:
Pet hospice is for patients who have a terminal disease. We shift from trying to cure them to trying to keep them comfortable and happy. We also strive to make sure that the bond between you is preserved by supporting you during this difficult time.
Visits take place in your home and last approximately 1-3 hours. We will need your records from your veterinarian (including lab results and doctor’s notes) sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 866-622-6461 beforehand for review. At the visit, we’ll talk about your pet’s condition, a physical examination will be performed by a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Veterinarian, and recommendations will be made for care. If you are considering euthanasia, that service can be performed at any hospice visit. The only additional charge will be for cremation.
Please click here to learn more about hospice care from Dr. Buisson’s videos and podcasts.
Pet Euthanasia Appointments:
You do not have to have a hospice appointment prior to in-home euthanasia. All new patients must have a brief physical examination prior to sedation unless they are aggressive. If you are unsure if euthanasia is appropriate, then we can address your concerns at this time. You may decide to return to your veterinarian, have a palliative/hospice consultation with me, or proceed with euthanasia. We will support you in whatever decision you make.
If you choose to euthanize your pet, we will have you sign a consent form. Part of that form is a waiver that your pet has not bitten anyone or had contact with wildlife recently. If your pet has bitten you or another person, it is extremely important that you let us know before we set an appointment.
Euthanasia visits can take place at your home (inside or outside) or at a location special to you and your pet. Appointments typically last 20-45 minutes (we schedule every patient for an hour, just in case you need it). All pets will receive oral and/or injectable sedation to relax them before euthanasia. If your pet is eating and not vomiting, having some special treats or even table food available to distract them can ease this process. The injection is given under the skin and may sting for a brief moment. After that, your pet will fall asleep (sometimes they even snore). Once they are sleeping and you are ready, the final injection will be given. Your family will be given time to say goodbye to your pet. If you find yourself needing more or less time, feel free to say so.
The doctor or technician will provide you with a lock of your pet’s fur and a PawPals keepsake paw print before leaving. If you would like more than one, please let us know.
Helping Hands can arrange for cremation of your pet, whether we euthanize your pet or they pass naturally at home. The doctor or technician will prepare your pet for transport in a basket or on a stretcher. A paw print and lock of fur will be provided if you would like. You are welcome to come out to the car to say goodbye. If you prefer to make your own arrangements, please let us know. If you aren’t sure what to do, just ask – we are here to help.