Hospice and Palliative Care

Dr. Shea Cox, Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner, Certified Pet Loss Provider

Dr. Shea Cox graduated from Michigan State University in 2001. Prior to offering hospice and palliative care, her veterinary career had been spent solely in an emergency and critical care setting for 13 years.  Dr. Cox’s change in focus was a natural extension, as life prior to veterinary medicine involved a career as a Registered Nurse, where she worked first-hand in areas of home health care, transitional care, and hospice environments, giving her a unique and direct understanding of this service and its importance to the entire family unit. 


One of Dr. Cox's personal missions is the advancement of pet hospice and palliative care in the field of veterinary medicine, and she is actively involved in the following projects:


  • Author:  Dr. Cox is a contributing author to the first veterinary textbook, titled Hospice and Palliative Care for Companion Animals: Principles and Practice, which is due to be released in 2016 by Wiley Publishing.  Her book chapters include Renal Disease, Heart Disease, Gastrointestinal Disorders, Pharmacologic Alleviation of Distress, Nursing Care for Seriously Ill Animals, and Supporting Other Needs.

  • Co-Chair, International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC) Animal Hospice Certification Program Task Force: The IAAHPC is currently developing a certification program that will set the standards of care with regards to providing hospice and palliative care services to pets.  The Certification will be comprised of three tracks: a certification for veterinarians, a certification for veterinary nurses, and a certification for licensed mental health providers. 

  • Consultant, Veterinary Information Network (VIN): Dr. Cox is one of four Hospice and Palliative Medicine consultants for VIN. VIN is the premier online continuing education and information resource for veterinarians, and reaches over 45,000 veterinarians worldwide.

  • Task Force, American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)/IAAHPC End of Life Guidelines for Dogs and Cats:  Dr. Cox is one of six veterinary experts in the field of hospice and palliative care who was invited by AAHA to help develop guidelines for end of life care. The objectives of the task force are to provide evidence-based information, resources, and recommendations on the subject of end of life diagnoses, treatment and hospice care to the veterinary profession, and will include all aspects of the diagnosis and treatment of end of life issues, hospice and palliative care, and euthanasia. These guidelines will assist veterinary practitioners in making decisions concerning all aspects of diagnosing, treating and managing end of life issues.

  • Speaker/Presenter, IAAHPC Conference, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

  • Educator, The Healer’s Art course, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine: The Healer’s Arts course is currently integrated within 85 medical schools worldwide, and UCD is the second veterinary school in the nation, behind Colorado State University, to offer this curriculum. 

  • Educator, FOAVet Knowledge Leader: FOAVet stands for Free Open Access Veterinary collaboration and knowledge sharing. Dr. Cox serves as the Knowledge Leader for the Hospice and Palliative Care Knowledge Center.


Dr. Cox serves on the Executive Committee of the American Association of Human Animal Bond Veterinarians and is also on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care.  She is an active member in the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management as well as the Pet Loss Professional Alliance, where she earned her Certified Pet Loss Provider credentials. 

Dr. Kara Harpham-Barlia


Dr. Scott Cox


Barb St. Amant, RVT

Barb graduated from Madison Area Technical College in 1986, and UW-Madison in 1978. While her family did not have pets, she developed an early and lifelong love of nature and all animals on month-long summer camping trips all over the United States.

After obtaining her RVT license, Barb worked in a wide variety of animal care fields; she dedicated 15 years to general practice followed by a brief period as a veterinary sales representative, then neurologic research at UCSF, and finally, 10 years in a specialty and emergency practice in Walnut Creek. Through this time, she has always had an affinity for developing a rapport with clients and their geriatric furry family members, and she excels in both patient and family care. While working in Walnut Creek, Barb founded and developed an In-Home Hospice and Palliative Care program, as it was a natural segue to be able to offer home visits and assisting families with whatever they needed.  She is skilled in both hospice care as well as helping beloved pets pass in the comfort of their own home.

Barb recently realized her dream by joining the Bridge Veterinary Team and she plays an integral role in the services that Bridge provides. Barb is present during each hospice appointment, and she and Dr. Cox continue to work as a team to greatly elevate the level of patient and family care. By being part of a "doctor + nurse" hospice care team, she is able to provide additional support, communication, guidance, and care for your pet.  

Barb has a well-developed reputation as a “cat lady,” and she currently shares her life with two of them.  One is a beautiful 10 yr old girl that she rescued from near death as a kitten, and the other an affectionate but feisty 19 yr. old girl who she adopted just 2 years ago. Four years ago she also rescued an abandoned chihuahua puppy, a “foster failure,” who immediately became a part of her family. This meant that she no longer had to get her “dog fixes” just at work!


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