At Gentle Hands Cherished Paws we believe in caring for the mind, body, and spirit of our patients and the hearts of their caregivers; and while a large part of our practice is to facilitate a peaceful passing for our patients, we offer so much more including:
While not a new concept, hospice care for pets has been slow to take off in the veterinary field. The advances over the years have made it possible for our pets to live longer, healthier, and happier lives, but the focus has primarily been on curing disease and prolonging life. Unfortunately, there comes a point in everybody’s life, including our pets, where the focus of care should shift from finding a cure to providing comfort. That is where veterinary hospice comes into play. Similar to human hospice, the veterinary model will focus on providing basic care to maintain a good quality of life for both the pet and their family without the often stressful visit to the veterinary hospital.
Some examples of diseases/conditions that may warrant hospice or palliative care include:
- Organ Failure (Kidney, Liver, Heart)
- Chronic Pain
- Cognitive Dysfunction or Dementia
- Senior pets approaching end of life
- Failure to thrive
- Degenerative myelopathy
- Any life limiting condition that contributes to an excessive burden for the caregiver, or medical treatment that the patient no longer tolerates.
What to Expect:
When we begin caring for a hospice patient, we tailor an individual plan designed to address their specific ailments and needs. Our goal is to keep them happy and comfortable as they near the end of their life. We will begin by assessing your pet by performing a physical examination, taking a thorough medical history with reviewing your pet’s previous medical records.
From there, we will make nutritional, environmental, medication, and supportive care recommendations and provide you with the tools and resources needed to implement your pet’s plan. We will discuss what you can expect from your pets disease process, and address family concerns as well. We strive to be there for our clients as well as our patients and can offer multiple pet loss counseling resources that can help you navigate this difficult time.
At Gentle Hands Cherished Paws, we believe that a peaceful transition is one of the most loving of gifts you can give a loyal family member. After working in the emergency department for years, Dr. Jason and Tory have seen first hand the stress, anxiety, and regret that can go with having to say good-bye in the heat of moment in a sterile hospital. We whole-heartedly believe that a devoted pet’s final moments should be basking in the loving embrace of their family in the comfort of their own home whenever possible.
What to Expect:
Upon our arrival we will make introductions to your family and of course your pet. Our goal is to ensure that this is as relaxed and peaceful as possible so we take our time, giving your pet and family a chance to acclimate to our presence. During this time, Dr. Jason will discuss the euthanasia process and answer any questions the family may have. From there, your pet will be given a sedative/pain medication combination that will cause them to relax; in fact most pets look like they are sleeping (and are often times snoring) once this medication takes effect. Once your pet has completely absorbed the mediation (anywhere from 5-20 minutes), Dr. Jason will administer an overdose of a barbiturate called pentobarbital. Once administration is complete, Dr. Jason will confirm your pet’s passing by listening to their heart.
At this point, Dr. Jason will collect a few memorial items to keep close to your heart in the absence of your pet. These include a clipping of fur and a clay imprint of your pets paw.
Once the memorial items are collected, you may continue to spend as much time with your pet as you need. If we are assisting with cremation services (see Cremation Services for more information) we will retrieve either a gurney or basket (depending on your pet’s size), to help aid with their transport. If you have any small items, blankets, or bedding you’d like to stay with your pet, let us know so we can include those items.
One of the most challenging aspects of sharing your life with a senior pet, is interpreting when its time to say good-bye. The consultation appointment is designed to ease the fear of making the decision to say good-bye too soon or too late.
What to Expect?
This appointment begins the same as the hospice appointment. Your pet’s medical records will be reviewed and then Dr. Jason will perform a physical examination to assess your pet’s condition. Dr. Jason will then discuss your pet’s quality of life with your family followed by his recommendations in regards to what the next step should be for your pet.
Through Resting Waters we are able to offer the following aquamation services. If you would like more information about aquamation please visit their website at www.restingwaters.com.
Individual Aquamation: This option is for pet parents who are interested in having their loved one’s ashes returned to them. The pet will be aquamated individually and can be picked up directly from Resting Waters with an expected turnaround time of 7-14 days. Ashes are returned in a cylindrical scatter box urn with upgraded urn options available at Resting Waters.
9205 35th Ave SW Seattle, WA
Communal Aquamation: This option is for the pet parents who would like their loved one aquamated, but who do not wish to have the ashes returned to them. The pet will be aquamated with other loved ones and the ashes are spread near the Chiwawa River by Leavenworth on property owned by Resting Waters.
Deciding how to care for your pet’s body after they’ve passed is a deeply personal and intimate choice and we will do our best to help honor your wishes. For most pet parents that means aquamation/cremation or home burial, but there are many different options. Please let us know if you have any special requests and we will do our best to honor your wishes.
Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments. The Chinese also use acupuncture as preventative medicine. Acupuncture is used all around the world, either along with or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of conditions in every species of animal. Clinical research has been conducted showing positive results in the treatment of both animals and humans, and the use of acupuncture is increasing. Acupuncture will not cure every condition, but it can work very well when it is indicated.
In 1996, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) stated “Veterinary acupuncture involves the examination and stimulation of specific points on the body of nonhuman animals by the use of acupuncture needles, moxibustion, injections, low-level lasers, magnets, and a variety of other techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of numerous conditions in animals.”
In 2014, the AVMA admitted the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture (AAVA) into the House of Delegates as a constituent allied veterinary organization, recognizing the validity of acupuncture in the treatment of animals.
For which conditions is acupuncture indicated?
Acupuncture is indicated for functional problems such as those that involve paralysis, noninfectious inflammation (such as allergies), and pain. For small animals, the following are some of the general conditions which may be treated with acupuncture:
- Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis, intervertebral disk disease, or traumatic nerve injury
- Respiratory problems, such as feline asthma
- Skin problems such as lick granulomas and allergic dermatitis
- Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, vomiting and decreased appetite
In addition, regular acupuncture treatment can treat minor sports injuries as they occur and help to keep muscles and tendons resistant to injury. World-class professional and amateur athletes often use acupuncture as a routine part of their training. If your animals are involved in any athletic endeavor, such as racing, jumping, or showing, acupuncture can help them keep in top physical condition.
How does acupuncture work?
From the Eastern perspective, poor health is considered to be an imbalance in the flow of “Qi” (energy) and Blood through the body. Acupuncture therapy helps to return the balance within the meridian energy flow. Stimulating specific acupuncture points that correlate with the pattern diagnosis “rebalances” the body to a more normal state. The ultimate goal of the acupuncturist is to treat the “root” cause. A patient responds faster and returns to a healthier state of health by addressing the root problem.
From the Western perspective, acupuncture stimulates all major physiologic systems positively. It works primarily through the central nervous system affecting the musculoskeletal, hormonal, and cardiovascular systems. Acupuncture increases blood circulation, increases the release of many neurotransmitters and neurohormones, some of which are endorphins – the body’s “natural pain-killing” hormones. Acupuncture relieves muscle spasms, stimulates nerves, and stimulates the body’s immune system. Stimulation by acupuncture needles multiplies natural morphine production 20-100 times. Electroacupuncture adds another three-fold increase in production of these natural pain killers. Acupuncture increases the levels of mood-elevating hormones such as dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine 30-50%.
How safe is acupuncture?
Acupuncture should never be administered without a proper veterinary medical diagnosis and an ongoing assessment of the patient’s condition by a licensed veterinarian. This is critical because acupuncture is capable of masking pain or other clinical signs and may delay proper veterinary medical diagnosis once treatment has begun. Elimination of pain may lead to increased activity on the part of the animal, thus delaying healing or causing the original condition to worsen.
In general, acupuncture can be effectively combined with most conventional and alternative therapies. Certified Veterinary Acupuncturists have comprehensive training, knowledge, and skill to understand the interactions between different forms of treatment and to interpret the patient’s response to therapy.
The American Veterinary Medical Association considers veterinary acupuncture a valid modality within the practice of veterinary medicine and surgery.
How can my pet benefit from acupuncture?
The success of the treatment will vary according to the condition being treated and the number and frequency of acupuncture treatments. The length and frequency of the treatments depend on the condition of the patient and the method of stimulation (dry needle, electroacupuncture, aquapuncture, etc.) that is used by the veterinary acupuncturist. A simple acute problem, such as a sprain, may require only one treatment, whereas more severe or chronic ailments may need several treatments. In some cases, we may recommend following up with your primary veterinarian for additional diagnostic testing or prescribe Western medications, keeping your pet’s health as a priority.
Is acupuncture painful?
For small animals, the insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless. The larger needles necessary for large animals may cause some pain as the needle passes through the skin. In all animals, once the needles are in place, there should be no pain. Most animals become very relaxed and may even become sleepy. Nevertheless, acupuncture treatment may cause some sensation, presumed to be those such as tingles, cramps, or numbness which can occur in humans and which may be uncomfortable to some animals.
Is acupuncture safe for animals?
Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian. Side effects of acupuncture are rare, but they do exist. An animal’s condition may seem worse for up to 48 hours after a treatment. Other animals become lethargic or sleepy for 24 hours. These effects are an indication that some physiological changes are developing, and they are most often followed by an improvement in the animal’s condition.