End of Life Care, Pet Hospice Care


“You can’t know how I feel until you walk in my shoes.” Cancer!!! Not my dog! I’m a veterinarian. My pets can’t get sick. So began the saga of our beloved Abby. It started back in August with a skin growth that Abby was bothering at, constantly licking. The growth was removed in October at the same time that her torn cruciate ligament was repaired. The biopsy report came back as a mast cell tumor. According to the report the surgeon had removed all of the abnormal cells and the margins were free of cancer. Mast cells cancers can be very tricky. When dealing with cancer it is important to consider a consultation with a veterinary oncologist. Decisions about treating the cancer need to be made. Discussions about chemotherapy and radiation treatment need to be weighed.

Never an easy decision, but my husband and I are on the same page moving forward. We made the decision to love our Abby to pieces and begin her hospice care. Daily medications, pain control, immune support, nutritional support, exercise and environmental stimulation. Right now it’s relatively easy. Abby is active and happy and has a great appetite. She’s loving the “extra” stuff. She sleeps on the couch and we rotate sleeping downstairs with her. Unfortunately the cancer has spread to her lungs. When she gets overly excited it stimulates a nasty cough. We know her time with us is limited and we are extremely saddened by this. We are adjusting her treatment plan as her symptoms progress. I remind myself every day of the importance of keeping her “Quality of Life” as my number one goal. I am thankful that I can provide home care for my dog and will do right by our Abby girl, when the time comes.

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  • Debbie W.

    Dr. Dale – your April 7th blog is beautifully written and could not be more true. The comfort,
    compassion, time and understanding that you showed us with your recent visit for Molly is unsurpassed by anything we had imagined. I have been trying to post a review for you but keep getting blocked by the gmail account. I just found an old gmail account i had and decided to try again when i came across this blog that you had written.

    To anyone who is struggling with the end of life decisions for your pet – Dr. Dale is truly a special person with a special gift to share… this is truly the way to go for any animal. I have told everyone I know since our experience about her practice.

    By the way, we are thinking of adopting a senior german shepard with degenerative spinal issues, will keep you posted.

    • Dr. Dale Krier

      It moves my heart in words that are difficult to express when I receive feedback like yours. Most people say that the day they euthanize a pet is the worst day of their life. To be a part of that worst day and come through it with folks truly appreciating the reality that we made it a little gentler and easier is a true gift. Hugs to you and your family and bless you for considering rescuing an older dog.

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