Hospice and Palliative Care
Hospice and palliative care services are offered through Bridge Veterinary Services. Bridge is a referral service under the umbrella of specialty care that is offered by PETS Referral Center.
Pet hospice is a unique approach to your pet’s end of life needs; it is focused on the comfort of your pet, not at finding a cure for his or her disease. We believe that hospice care should be focused just as equally on living, and we will implement every measure possible to meet you and your pet's unique needs, with a focus on providing comfort and quality of life in every single moment.
Hospice care is appropriate if your pet has:
an incurable illness (such as cancer)
a chronic, progressive disease (such as kidney disease, debilitating arthritis, or congestive heart failure)
an undiagnosed disease for which further diagnostics or therapy options have been declined in lieu of comfort-oriented care
a chronic disability (such as neurologic disease or intervertebral disc disease)
a terminal geriatric status
Hospice care is especially beneficial for those families who have elected treatment for their pets with (an ultimately) terminal disease, such as cancer. Having a hospice team in place at the time of diagnosis, in addition to your pet's oncologist and primary care veterinarian, offers the additional support needed during this time and ensures that you and your pet are fully supported, both medically and emotionally.
What does a hospice consult entail?
A hospice consults generally lasts 3 hours, during which time we discuss your pet's disease, work through quality of life and pain scales, assess current quality of life, begin to work through parameters of when to make the difficult decision of helping your pet pass (if intervention is wished for), and examining each area of his or her current care to see if there are further measures we can do to improve overall quality of life. We also provide families with a "Comfort Kit" if indicated; a comfort kit contains injectable pain medication + sedation that can be administered by the family in the event of an emergency or if your pet were to experience sudden, severe pain, which becomes especially important if an emergency were to occur in the middle of the night. The home environment is also assessed, and we will work to implement changes that will help further support your pet. Education is a cornerstone, and we will discuss what to expect with the disease process, how to recognize pain or a decline in condition, and ensure you know what to anticipate during the final stages of your pet's life. We also work to problem solve, such as finding alternative ways to administer palliative medications to pets who are unwilling or unable to take them by mouth. We will be there to fully support you through this journey, and ensure that we do everything possible for you, your family, and your pet.
Our hospice team works collaboratively with you and your veterinarian and/or veterinary specialist (such as an oncologist or internal medicine specialist) to provide the most complete care possible. Hospice is a family-centered service that can help you and your pet live life with continual support, comfort, dignity and meaning.