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Palliative Animal Care

By 25th September 2017Animal Welfare

Achieving the best quality of life

In a search I found that hospice care, palliative care and euthanasia are often bundled in to the same package by veterinarians. When looking further I found the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care  (IAAHPC). At last, an organisation that can see the difference between care and end of life.

“Quality of life” is a term discreetly dropped into conversation by veterinarians. Especially, I hear from my clients, when their animals are in their senior years. More often than not (and feel free to tell me your experience is different because I know there are great vets) we are told it is the kinder thing to do and other options are simply not explored. When was the last time you heard a vet discuss hospice care for animals? Have they ever discussed palliative care with you?

Thankfully, there is positive movement and America are ahead of the game. Had you heard of the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care? Has your vet heard of this association? It would be interesting to ask. You could scribble the name down for them so they can look into it themselves.

“The IAAHPC is dedicated to promoting knowledge of, and developing guidelines for, comfort-oriented care to companion animals as they approach the end of life.”

What does the IAAHPC do?

  • promotes the hospice philosophy of care: By utilizing a team of professionals to help facilitate care of terminally ill animals, and to support the animals’ families that are making decisions before, around and after the patients’ death.
  • promotes hospice/palliative care for animal companions as an alternative to premature euthanasia and as an alternative to prolonged suffering which can result either from isolating an animal in intensive care or from inadequately treating the animal at home.
  • emphasizes the terminally ill animal’s quality of life and recognizes that hospice/palliative care provides the animal’s family precious quality time with the animal, and helps the family cope with the approaching death of their beloved companion.
  • IAAHPC is a non-profit organisation.
“The challenge facing IAAHPC is that many animal guardians don’t know enough about animal hospice/palliative care services to seek them.”

It’s important we all try to raise the awareness on palliative care for animals. We need to understand the different ways animals can be supported and to inform our vets about the many benefits for both the animals and their guardians.

“…and that many veterinarians don’t know enough about the benefits hospice care can offer their patients and clients, and therefore don’t provide hospice services and/or information about them.”
  • IAAHPC recognizes that different belief systems exist regarding the meaning of life and death
    of companion animals, what they experience during active dying and what happens after death.
  • Hospice care for animals is not new. We owe deep gratitude to the pioneers who have been practicing and preaching the philosophy for years. But the need for animal hospice/palliative care is immeasurably greater than what is currently available. Now that the demand for and interest in animal hospice/palliative care is increasing, the time has come to work together to give the field direction and momentum.
“the need for animal hospice/palliative care is immeasurably greater than what is currently available.”

You can read more insight into palliative care and animals’ feelings on life and death in my second book,  The Animal Communicator’s Guide Through Life, Loss and Love.