At-Home Euthanasia

The staff at EVS understands the all-important decision to euthanize your beloved pet. Most of us have experienced this ourselves. There are many things to consider when deciding on the time for euthanasia. Our staff is here to help you through this time.

Doing euthanasia at home or in the hospital is a personal choice. Some people prefer to have their animal euthanized at the hospital with their veterinarian. Our staff tries to help with this process and make it as comfortable as possible on both the pets and the people that love them. Other people would prefer to have their animal euthanized at home.

Being euthanized at home or outside in a favorite place can be comforting to both the animal and the family. The family can choose where in the home or outside they would like to spend time. Our staff will arrive and give a sedative so that your pet is comfortable. We can take the time to answer any questions you may have. Our goal is to support you in this time.

Who will come to the house?
One of our veterinarians and a technician will come to the house.
What happens?
All new patients must have a brief physical examination prior to sedation unless they are aggressive. If you are unsure if euthanasia is appropriate, then we can address your concerns at this time. You may decide to return to your veterinarian or proceed with euthanasia. Our veterinarians have the right to refuse a euthanasia if s/he doesn’t feel it is appropriate for your animal.  Although this situation is rare, we want to make sure our vets feel comfortable with the euthanasia.  If you choose to euthanize your pet, we will have you sign a consent form. Part of that form is a waiver that your pet has not bitten anyone or had contact with wildlife recently. If your pet has bitten you or another person, it is extremely important that you let us know before we set an appointment.
Does it hurt?
No. All patients will be sedated prior to the euthanasia. If your pet is still eating, you can offer some special treats or food to distract them during this process.  After that, your pet will be sedated and fall asleep. An IV catheter may be placed but your pet won’t feel any pain, anxiety or discomfort.  Once asleep, the euthanasia solution will be given. The drug is an overdose of an anesthetic agent and death usually occurs 30 to 60 seconds after it is given. You can be there in the final moment.
How long does it take?
The initial drugs take a few minutes to take effect until sedation. The actual injection takes just a few minutes for the heart to stop. The entire process typically takes less than an hour.
Should my other pets be there?
If you want them to and they are ok with being in the room, then yes. If they are particularly anxious or excitable, it might be best that they wait in another room and then say their goodbyes after the euthanasia has been completed. Pet’s will grieve too; it is not uncommon for them to look for their friend, experience behavioral changes or inappetence.
Should my children be there?
This is a family decision. Our veterinarians are happy to share their experiences with you. Here is a link to more in-depth information about children and euthanasia from our experiences as well as a link to an excellent resource regarding children and grief: https://childhoodgrief.org.au/
How much notice is needed for euthanasia appointments?
We understand that death can be hard to predict. We will do our best to respond to same-day requests; however, this is not always possible. Ideally giving us as much notice as possible will allow us to work around both your and our schedules.
Do we have to be present?
It is an entirely personal decision, and there is no right or wrong answer. Some families choose to stay for the sedation and step out of the room for the final euthanasia and return to say one final goodbye.  Others choose to stay from start to finish. We are happy to accommodate your preference, and the veterinarian will be able to discuss this with you during the visit.
When is it time to consider euthanasia?
We know that this can be a very difficult decision.  No one wants their animal to suffer.  We evaluate quality of life in different ways:

  • The ability to interact with the family: Is your pet still happy to see you?  Is your pet seeking interaction or hiding?
  • Eating: Is your pet still eating?  Losing weight?  Have to be fed by syringe?  Vomiting?
  • Drinking: Is your pet able to drink enough water to maintain adequate hydration or does it need to have fluids?  If you are giving fluids at home is your pet tolerant of this or is it a struggle every time?  Is your pet vomiting after drinking?
  • Potty habits: Is your pet able to stand up and go to the bathroom?  Is it able to go outside?  Does it know that it is having an accident?  Have they developed incontinence or secondary urine scalding?  Have they developed diarrhea and secondary scald?  Are they able to move away from their urine or feces?
  • Mobility: Is your pet able to get up and move around?  Still enjoying the walks or time outside?  Are they able to get up to go to the bathroom?   Are they able to get up to eat or drink?  Are they frequently slipping or falling over?
  • Pain: Is your pet in pain?  Is the pain able to be managed with medications or is it no longer comfortable?
  • Breathing: Is your pet breathing comfortably or is it a struggle?  Is your pet’s cough unable to be managed anymore?  Can your pet lie down and rest or is it getting up constantly?  Does your pet get out of breath frequently?
  • Disease: Does your pet have a chronic or incurable disease?  Does your pet have cancer?  Is the disease robbing of your pet’s personality?    Is the disease no longer able to be managed with medications or diet?
  • Mentation: Is your pet no longer the pet that you once knew?  Does your pet recognize you or other pets?  Does your pet cry or whine constantly?  Turn circles or pace frequently?  Does your pet seem disoriented or distressed?  Does your pet show interest in their favorite things?  Do they show signs of separation anxiety or stare blankly at walls?  Does your pet seem to get lost in the corners of the room?

Looking at each day independently and making note if it is a good day or a bad day for your pet.  When the bad days are outnumbering the good days, it may be time to consider euthanasia.  Just know there is no “right” time.   Sometimes you may hear that you will “know” that it is time.  And this is true for some people.  But this can be a heartbreaking decision and sometimes people DON’T know.  And that is OK.  We can help if you have questions.

How do I make an appointment?
Please call our office at 540-563-8575 or fill out a registration online. Our staff will schedule the appointment and call you to discuss our fees. We prefer to have you pay beforehand so we don’t have to worry about this during an already stressful time.
How can I pay?
Payment is required at the time of service. We accept credit cards, Debit cards, Direct Deposit, and Cash, Care Credit or Scratch Pay. We can no longer accept checks.  We would prefer to have you pay ahead of time, so we don’t have to worry about payment on the day of the euthanasia.
What happens to my pet’s remains?

You can choose from multiple options:

  • At home burial: You will need to check your local ordinances to see if this is permitted.
  • Pet burial: we have options for burial in a memorial park. We can give you the information on that day.
  • Communal cremation: your pet will be cremated with other animals and the ashes are spread.
  • Private cremation: we can take your pet with us on a stretcher (if under 75 pounds). Over 75 pounds there will be an additional $50 charge.  The remains will be able to be picked up at the clinic.
  • Oakey’s Pet Crematory will pick up during regular business hours for $39 and after hours for $139. We can also take your pet with us and Oakey’s can pick up from our clinic. The remains will be able to be picked up at Oakey’s.
Please fill out our registration form as completely as possible!