Saying Goodbye – Euthanizing a pet during Covid 19
Covid 19 and government shutdowns have forced veterinarians to change animal care protocols. This is for everyone’s safety. Most animal hospitals have closed their doors to client entry and are providing curbside care. Appointments are scheduled, technicians in personal protective equipment meet a client at their car and escort the pet into the animal hospital. Pet owners must remain in their cars. Pets are assessed, clients are contacted by the veterinarian via the phone to discuss the pets’ condition and treatment options. When euthanasia is recommended or requested only 1 family member is allowed inside the building and many hospitals are not allowing clients inside at all. Some veterinary hospitals are performing euthanasias outside of the hospital building and limiting the number of family members that can be in attendance.
Every day I receive phone calls asking if I am working during this Covid pandemic. I have been working daily since the stay at home order has been in effect and practicing safe social distancing along with minimizing virus exposure. I am treating each household as if family members are positive or asymptomatic carriers. This way I can “insure” that I protect all who I am in contact with and protect myself and my family as well. I have over 3 decades of experience helping families help their pets transition. Many pet families are immune compromised and/or essential workers and we are all collectively concerned about exposure risks.
COVID 19 PROTOCOLS
1. My husband Richard and I hope to answer all of your questions during our initial phone consultation. Office # 860-355-0247
2. Fill out a euthanasia consent form online from my website drdalekrier.com under the “Contact Us” window.
3. Please share any quirky behavior issues that your pet is prone to. It can be helpful if sedatives are provided by the primary veterinarian and administered in advance of my arrival to minimize a pets’ anxiety. If that is not an option we may need additional medications onboard to help relax your pet that can be administered upon my arrival.
4. All appointments are conducted outside the home when the weather is nice. If it’s raining we can plan to be on a front porch, back deck or in a garage. I will not be entering anyone’s home. No exceptions. Yes, this is difficult (especially with cats).
5. I will be wearing a face mask and request you do the same. I will be respecting 6 foot social distancing and further distances if it’s windy. It is difficult not to greet you with a hug or hand shake but for now we need to avoid close contact.
6. I will ask you to step back while I administer a calming injection. Since I need to approach your pet without any one restraining them (6 foot social distance) it is helpful to have a bowl of yummy treats to offer as a distraction while the medication is administered. Ice cream, whip cream, steak, cheeseburgers, muffins and chocolate are good enticements. Most pets will still have an appetite . You can cuddle with your pet as we wait for the sedative to take its effect (approximately 5 minutes for cats and 10 minutes for dogs).
7. You will be asked to step back while I place an IV catheter and administer the second medication. I will then give you time and space to snuggle with your pet until they pass. Typically the breathing and heartbeat will stop in less than 5 minutes. The process is peaceful.
8. When you are ready to step back I’ll confirm with my stethoscope that your pet has passed.
9. If your family is planning on a home burial I will depart. I can provide aftercare (cremation) arrangements for pets up to 100 pounds. I can lift up to about 40 pounds on my own. Family members need to assist with pets over 40 pounds. Larger pets (over 100 pounds) require special plans with a local crematorium. Many crematoriums will pick up directly from your home but advance notice is usually necessary. Many are closed on the weekends. Ashes can be picked up from my home or shipped directly to you.
10. I travel to assist families in Connecticut and New York. Best to schedule in advance. Last minute requests are harder to accommodate.
11. I embrace creative options. I can meet you at a local park, beach, lake or stream. Best if we can find a private location. This provides us additional choices if driving times make it difficult for me to get to your location on a given day
12. Payment is expected at time of services. Venmo, cash or check preferred. Please ask for a quote.
13. The main thing I want families to know is that together we can provide a peaceful transition for your pet. They can be in the comfort of home, surrounded by family and loved until they pass. We can do this with respect, dignity and minimal angst. Planning is key! We can get through this together.
“Death is a moment, but dying is a process. We are not shortening their life, we”re shortening their dying process. We can’t change the destination, but we can make the journey peaceful and even beautiful”. Author unknown