St. Francis Veterinary Housecalls

Pet Hospice and Euthanasia

Home Veterinary Hospice Care

Dr. Troxell is a member of the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, and is the first veterinarian in the greater North Valley to specialize in this field.  

In recent years, hospice for dying pets has become a recognized part of veterinary medicine.  As in human hospice care, the goal is a peaceful, comfortable death, in nature's time.  In pets, we also have the option of providing gentle euthanasia to end suffering.  As in human hospice care, meticulous attention must be given to your dying pet's comfort and hygiene at all times.  Acupuncture, massage, and drugs to ease the pain can all be used to make sure your pet is as comfortable as possible at all times.  This is what sets hospice apart from mere neglect.  This can be an extremely labor-intensive process, and for this reason, few people opt for or are capable of this.  If you are thinking about hospice care for your sick pet, we can discuss this option further with you, and help determine what is best for your pet. 

As in human hospice care, 30% of humans and animals that go into hospice tend to become better, and do not die at that time - mainly because of the diligent nursing care!


If you think euthanasia may be necessary for your pet, we will come to your home and help you make the right decision.  Dr. Keira Troxell will discuss it with you, and examine your pet.  If she agrees that euthanasia is best for your pet at this time, the procedure will be performed in as gentle and caring a manner as possible.  It is a good idea to take care of necessary paperwork beforehand.  Your pet is then given a sedative injection, in order to relieve any pain or anxiety.  This can take 10-20 minutes to take full effect.  The euthanasia solution is then given, and is basically a painless anesthetic that is given intravenously.  For this reason, your pet will go into a deep sleep, after which the heart will stop beating.  This part usually takes about 30 seconds.  During this procedure, you are free to sit with or hold your pet, if you are comfortable doing so.   Death is confirmed by listening with a stethoscope, and checking other signs, such as eyelid movement and eye pupil position. 

If you need help with the aftercare of your pet's body, we can make arrangements for private or non-private cremation.   With private cremation, you can choose to have the ashes returned to you in a small cedar box.   For our cremation services, we use Koefran Services in Northern California, which is a small, family-operated company with an excellent reputation for caring about what they do. 

We feel very strongly about handling your pet's remains with the dignity and consideration that is due for a cherished member of your family. 


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