What to Expect
We do our best to ensure that every visit goes as smoothly as possible. Below is a general outline of what to expect from our service. Our goal is to provide a calm peaceful passing for your pet. We adapt our process to account for the health status of the pet, personality of the pet, preferences and environmental factors. Our doctor will discuss this process with you in detail as part of the phone consult and upon arrival.
Scheduling the Appointment:
Please contact us via phone or email. For questions or inquiries, you can also fill out the contact form located at the bottom of each page on our website. We do our best to respond to each inquiry immediately. If you call and do not reach us immediately please leave a message with your name and phone number. Occasionally our doctor may be with another client and unable to respond immediately. Should this be the case you will be contacted within 2-3 hours.
Our doctor will contact you for a phone consultation. Typically phone consultations last between 10 and 15 minutes. If a longer consult is needed this can be scheduled. We understand that many times while making these decisions it can be difficult to talk on the phone. If preferred we can contact you via email. We will ask you a general history about your pet and situation. We will also answer any questions you may have regarding our service. Should you decide to make an appointment with us, we will ask for your preferred appointment times and dates. If possible it is often helpful to have a few dates and times available. We will always do our best to work with you to find a time that is best for you and your family. Our doctor may direct you to our website to fill out the necessary client registration form. This can be done at the time of the visit, however, we have found that filling it out ahead of time allows us to decrease paperwork during the visit and allows us to more fully focus on you and your pet. We will also ask you about aftercare wishes for your pet. You do not need to have made a decision at this time. Our doctor will discuss available options with you.
Arrival, forms and payment
We will arrive at the scheduled time and place previously arranged for the visit. At that time we will meet your pet and discuss the process in depth. Additional questions or concerns can be addressed at that time. Our doctor will do a physical exam on your pet to assess health status. This is important so that our protocols can be tailored to the individual health conditions of each pet. At the beginning of the visit you will be asked to fill out a client registration form (if you have not already done so) and a euthanasia consent form. This form can be printed from our website (see forms) and filled out prior to the visit or it can be filled out and submitted online. Our doctor will discuss the euthanasia consent form with you and finalize aftercare options. At that time payment will be collected. We accept major credit cards (Visa, American Express, Master Card and Discover), debit cards, CareCredit, cash and local checks. Please see the prices and fees page for more information on pricing. Finally, our doctor will walk you through the euthanasia process step by step and answer any final questions you may have.
Once the physical exam, paperwork, payment and any questions have been answered we will move forward with the visit. Your pet will receive an injection of a heavy sedative and pain medication. This injection is typically given as an injection under the skin (similar to a vaccine). This injection can be given at any location in the house (in their favorite bed, on a couch, etc). The medications typically take 3-15 minutes to take effect depending on the pet. During this time we encourage you to hold them and talk to them as you feel comfortable. A second injection of an anesthesia agent will be given. It will be given under the skin similar to the last injection. Your pet will be resting comfortably and will be unaware of this injection. This injection will cause your pet to fall completely asleep. Typically this injection takes about 2-5 minutes to take effect. At this point in the visit your pet will be unaware of what is going on around them and will be completely unconscious.
We will gently use some clippers to remove some hair from a spot on their leg. They will be sleeping soundly during this part of the visit and will be unaware of this occurring. An intravenous catheter (IV) will be placed. This allows our drugs to go directly into the blood stream and ensures a smooth and peaceful passing.
Once the IV catheter is placed your pet will be given a drug to induce anesthesia. We will follow this with an overdose of a medication (euthasol). This process allows your pet to pass comfortably in their sleep. The process of euthanasia from administration of the first IV drug to confirmation of passing typically only takes a few minutes (1-3 minutes). Once the final medication is given our doctor will listen to your pet’s heart and confirm the time of death. Throughout the process you are encouraged to hold your pet, talk to them, pet them and be near them. If you wish to go to another room for part or all of the procedure that can also occur. Each visit can be tailored to you and your pet. Once your pet has passed should you wish our doctor will make a complimentary keepsake clay paw-print.
If you elected private cremation Family Pet Memorial may be able to meet our doctor at your home to pick up your pets remains. If it is an evening appointment or a weekend appointment and Family Pet Memorial is unable to meet at your house, our Doctor will take your pets remains with them. Cremation will be arranged through Family Pet Memorial. All privately cremated pets will be placed in a traditional oak urn with a brass name plate (unless otherwise requested) and will be hand delivered back to your home by our Doctor in 3-5 business days. If communal cremation is elected our doctor will take your pets remains with them at the conclusion of the visit.
Variations to the visit:
If your pet has bitten anyone within the last 10 days we ask that you notify us. Certain testing will need to be performed to be within state compliance for rabies monitoring.
Please notify us if your pet is aggressive, bites or is protective. We are very experienced in handling animals in all different stages of anxiety, pain, and fear. Notifying us ahead of time allows us to make changes to our protocol to keep your pet, ourselves and you safe and comfortable.
Occasionally for highly agitated pets we may need to ask you to place a muzzle on your pet briefly for the sedative injection. This is for their safety and ours. This will not need to be in place for longer than a few minutes. Once the injection is given it can be removed for the remainder of the visit.
If your pet is critically ill a variation to the procedures may need to be made. Many times pets that are very ill are severely dehydrated and have very low blood pressure. This can make IV catheter placement difficult. Any variations to the above protocol will be discussed and explained in person by the doctor.