A Peaceful Goodbye can be a Challenging Decision

Our pets mean so much to us. Their love is infinite and unconditional. As they age, it falls on us – as their caretakers – to make the difficult decision to release them from any pain and suffering that they may be feeling. Humane euthanasia is often the kindest option for our pets, even though it can be the most difficult choice to make. In-home euthanasia that we provide through Spotswood Veterinary Services can make a hard day as peaceful and comfortable as possible.

What to expect when scheduling an appointment?

We understand that older pets can go from being very healthy and mobile to having difficulties very quickly. We do our best to accommodate requests for euthanasia in a timely manner. We have two doctors who are able to provide euthanasia services. Our availability depends on a few factors, such as where your house is located and our current schedule. We schedule appointments between 8:30am and 5pm Monday through Friday and do not schedule appointments after hours or on weekends. Sometimes we are able to do same day appointments, but other times we are booked out 1-2 weeks. If you are set on a home euthanasia with us, it is best to reach out and let us know as soon as possible to ensure we can accommodate the request. We do accept multiple forms of payment, and many clients request to take care of payment before the time of the appointment so we can fully focus on their companion at the time. We are able to send invoices ahead of time to your email so that you can pay with credit card in advance.

What to expect the day of the appointment?

On the day of the appointment, one of our doctors will come to your house at the scheduled appointment time. We are flexible as to where the appointment can take place and we want you and your pet to be as comfortable as possible. Some people prefer to do the appointment outside if it is a nice day, others in the living room in their favorite spot, and some while laying in bed with their pet. Please be aware that sometimes after the pet has passed, they may relieve themselves, so having a towel or puppy pee pad underneath them can help catch some of the mess.

Both of our doctors follow a two shot protocol for euthanasia. The first shot administered is not merely sedation but a full anesthetic. It is the same drug we use to induce anesthesia before surgery. This first shot goes in the muscle, usually in the hind end. It can sometimes sting, so we often have the owner at the front of the pet comforting them and distracting them while we administer the shot as quickly as possible. Over the next 5-10 minutes, the animal will start to get sleepy. Their head will get heavy, their tongue may protrude, and sometimes they will start to snore. Their eyes will usually remain slightly open and a small, occasional blink reflex is sometimes still seen, even though they are unconscious.

Once our doctors are completely sure that the pet is in a deep enough plane of anesthesia – that it can no longer feel anything and is no longer aware of its surroundings – the doctor will move forward with adminstering the second shot. The second shot is given in the vein and is the one that will cause cerebral death in conjunction with respiratory and circulatory arrest. We encourage clients to be present for the entire procedure and will often try to go for a vein in a back leg so that the owner is able to hold their pet or be up near their heads. However, we understand if it is too difficult to be present, and once the first shot has taken full effect, the pet is no longer aware of their surroundings and whether or not their owners are in the room. The second shot only takes 1-3 minutes to work, and because the animal is anesthetized, they usually just stop breathing peacefully, with no sudden convulsions or movements.

What are the cremation options available?

After the appointment, many people opt to bury their animal on their property. If you are unable to do so, or would prefer cremation for your pets, we do partner with Johnson Pet Cremation in Locust Grove to provide that service for an additional fee. There are two options for cremation: mass and private. With mass cremation, your pet will be cremated with other animals and their collective ashes spread on the fields in the Johnson family farm. If you would prefer to get the ashes of your pet returned to you, then there is the option for private cremation, where your pet is cremated alone and the cremains are collected and placed in a container. The price of these services varies depending on the weight of the pet being cremated and whether mass or private cremation is preferred. The price for private cremation includes a simple white box. If you want something more ornate or personalized, Johnson Pet Cremation has an online store with a variety of urns and options to choose from that we can facilitate the purchase of.

It is our goal to provide as peaceful of a goodbye as possible for your beloved, furry companion and believe that in-home euthanasia is the best possible way to achieve that goal for both you and your pet. Please feel free to reach out to us at 540-300-8388 to schedule an appointment or ask any further questions you may have.