In-home euthanasia

Tarneit Mobile Vet offers peaceful, compassionate in-home euthanasia

We understand that making the decision to euthanise (put your animal to sleep or put your animal down) can be a very difficult and daunting process. Pets are part of the family and saying that final goodbye is never easy. We try to make it easier by offering euthanasia at home, in the comfort of you and your pet’s own environment. It might be on the bed, on the sofa, or in the garden – or wherever you feel will keep your pet relaxed and is a calm and comforting environment to say that final goodbye.

How do we know when it’s time?

Many owners struggle with deciding when the right time is. Nobody wants to give up too early but, equally, nobody wants to leave it too late and have their beloved pet suffer unnecessarily. Our veterinarians can help you make this decision. We come to your home and perform quality-of-life checks, to decide if there are options that can keep your pet going longer without suffering or if it is in the best interests of your pet to let them go. Below is one quality-of-life assessment tool that can help you make the decision:

What is involved in the process of euthanasia?

Our aim is to make things go as smoothly as possible during the process. We aim to minimize any discomfort to the pet and to make it a peaceful goodbye for everyone.

The step-by-step process:

  1. Get consent form signed, confirming you have the authority to make the decision.
  2. We usually give a sedative injection into the muscle (on the rump or back of the neck). This might sting a little for an instant. However, within 5-10 minutes, the sedative will make your pet very sleepy and minimally aware of the rest of the process.
  3. We then clip an area on one of the legs to visualise a vein. A front leg is most commonly used, although sometimes we use a back leg instead.
  4. Next, we insert a catheter (canula) into the vein and tape it in place. Sometimes we connect this to some longer tubing so we can then get out of your way.
  5. Once the catheter is connected, we’ll check that it is working properly by injecting some saline (clear solution).
  6. When everyone is ready, we then inject an overdose of general anaesthetic (a dark green or red liquid) through the catheter into the vein. The animal will go off to sleep over about 30 seconds and never wake up.
  7. We then check that there is no heartbeat and no eye reflex, declaring the animal has passed.

Does euthanasia hurt?

Fortunately, with the advances in the veterinary medical science, we have very effective sedatives and anesthetics, that if used by professionals with the right dose and route, will immediately take away the pain and suffering of the animal. It is usually a very peaceful process, and the only pain an animal might feel is a small needle prick of the first sedative injection.

Are there any things we should know about?

Whilst we try to make sure the whole process runs smoothly, there are a few things that are unpredictable and are outside of our control.

During the euthanasia process, if the blood pressure is very low, the veins are flat and wiggly, or the animal is carrying excess weight, it can make getting a catheter into a vein difficult. Thus, sometimes it might take multiple attempts and we might need to try the veins on different limbs or in a different area. Fortunately, as your pet is sedated, they will be minimally aware of any of these attempts.

The process of the body shutting down can also have some undignified aspects:

  • The animal might make a whining noise as it goes off to sleep. This does not indicate pain or distress.
  • The animal might take one last large breath.
  • The animal usually doesn’t close its eyes.
  • The animal might leak wee and/or poo on the floor.
  • The muscles might twitch and the legs might paddle after passing. This is just a reflex reaction after death. The animal is gone but the muscles are still shutting down.
  • The mouth might start spasming and doing gasping actions. This is just a reflex reaction after passing.

Although the above might seem daunting, euthanasia is a peaceful ending we can offer to suffering animals. Once the catheter is in the leg, it is just like us going under an anaesthetic. As the anaesthetic is injected, they drift quickly off to sleep peacefully. (Although instead of counting backwards from 10, we prefer to ask animals to count upwards…1 treat, 2 treats, 3 treats, many treats…)

Do I need to prepare anything before the visit?

Many people like to feed their pet its favourite foods or meal in the hour or two prior. Some last suppers include: chocolate (it’s normally toxic but is fine as a delicious naughty treat in the final moments), McDonalds, steak, icecream… The preferences are endless. Animals don’t always lie down where we want them to, but it helps if you choose an area in your home that has enough accessibility for the vet to access the veins as well as for everyone to gather around. Have a cosy absorbable blanket or bed handy that your pet can rest on, and a towel we can scoot underneath to catch any dribbles from the back end.

What happens to the body of the animal afterwards?

You may choose to bury the body of your pet in the backyard with a cute little gravestone, or we can organise cremation for you. There is the option of individual cremation with the ashes returned or group cremation (with the ashes not returned). We use Eden Hills Pet Crematorium if you want to browse their cremation options. We take the body and organise the cremation for you, with delivery of ashes back to your home. (The general turn-around time for ashes return is 14-21 days.) We usually ask if you have a favourite blanket you would like to wrap your pet in. And some people like to send their pet’s favourite toy with them. There are no rights or wrongs. It is entirely up to you and what you prefer to do.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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