We love our pets. All of us become attached to our animal companions, even within a day or two of owning them, and especially after a lifetime of shared friendship. We know that many owners are reluctant to approach their vet with an ageing or infirm pet because they fear that the vet may insist on euthanising their pet. We would like to reassure you that our role is to discuss the condition of your pet, the medical problems that may be involved and any relevant details of the home situation, and then find the best way forward. Treatment of older patients has advanced greatly in recent years and we will always offer this if we think it is in your pet's interest. You can also rely on us to be honest with you if we really feel euthanasia is the best option. Remember: our job is to advise; the decision over how we proceed will be yours.
The euthanasia processIf, after looking at all the circumstances, euthanasia does seem to be the right course, here are some points you may want to consider:
- We do offer house-calls but these need to be arranged during our opening hours and where staffing allows. If this is not possible or your have been advised that it is in the best interest of your pet to be seen at the practice, an appointment can be made at Braintree. Because of the limited facilities euthanasia is not possible at our Coggeshall branch in most cases.
- Please ring to speak to a receptionist if you wish to book an appointment. It is helpful if you tell the receptionist that you may be having your pet euthanised - that way we can ensure you are given a longer appointment and can give you advice about your arrival.
- Please don't worry about being upset. Everyone at the practice has their own pets and we appreciate how upsetting this can be.
- For most pets an intravenous injection will be given. An intravenous catheter will be secured in the vein to help administer the injection smoothly. In some instances a sedative may be necessary to calm your pet before the euthanasia. The this is taking place at the practice, we will usually take your pet from you to place their intravenous catheter and if necessary give them the sedation injection, then return them to you.
- In almost all cases the euthanasia injection will bring unconsciousness in less than half a minute and with a minimum of pain and distress. It really is like going to sleep, but the resulting overdose of anaesthetic will make their heart stop and death will occur. Your vet will listen to your pet's heart to ensure they have passed away and perform other checks e.g. checking for a reflex directly on your pet's eye. It is not uncommon for your pet to make several big 'last breaths'. This is not them waking up, but their body's response to the death process. Pets' may also pass urine and/or faeces when they die - again this is a natural process as all the pet's muscles relax once they have passed away.
- There will be time for you to stay with your pet after they have been euthanised if you wish to do so.
- Please let us know if you would like to take any of your pet's possessions home - eg collars / leads / carriers or blankets once your pet has passed away. If your pet is being individually cremated you may wish some of their items to be cremated with them: e.g. a favourite toy or their collar and lead. The decision is yours.
Burial and cremation optionsTaking your pet home to be buried is a good solution for many owners, and is perfectly legitimate. We would advise you, however, to check with your landlord or agent if you are in you are in rented accommodation. We can help wrap your pet in their favourite blanket for you to take them back home to their final resting place.
Cremation is also an option. This can be carried out with or without your pet's ashes being returned to you.
If you have chosen communal cremation for your pet, this means your pet will be cremated together with other pets. Their ashes will not be returned to you.
If you choose individual cremation, there are a wide range of options for your pet's ashes from casket and scatter tubes to garden ornaments and keep-sakes. You might also like to consider getting your pet's paw print or some fur. We can show you a number of the items on offer, but if you would like something different please let us know. We are happy to keep your pet for longer to give you time to make this decision*.
Please note - If your pet has been euthanised at home and you have opted for individual cremation, Phoenix offer a home collection service. This is often the best and quickest way for your pet's ashes to be ready for collection and allows you more time to be with your pet before they leave their home. You can organise this direct with Phoenix.
The Phoenix range that we offer through the practice include the items below, for a further range of items please visit the Phoenix website.
Oak or beech casket; Scatter box; Ashes memory box with photo insert; Bone on paw print pillow; Paw print urns; Ink paw print; Clay paw print; Sleeping Cats; Standing cats; Sleeping cat resting on a book; Sitting Rabbit; Sitting rabbit on a book; Cuddle stone (various colours)
*Your pet's body will be held in cold storage. Our trusted local pet crematorium comes to collect them. They visit us twice a week and the whole process is conducted with respect.
If you choose to have your pet individually cremated we can arrange this for you through our local pet crematorium or you can go to them direct. **
If you have opted to have your pet's ashes individually cremated the crematorium will also return the ashes to us. We have two visits a week and these are generally on a Tuesday and Friday. Individually cremated ashes are returned to us within 2 weeks, there may be some variation on this depending on the options you have chosen. A member of our staff will contact you, usually by email or phone, to let you know that your pet's ashes have arrived back with us and are ready for collection.
** If you wish to take your pet direct to the crematorium we advise you contact them in advance of making your vet appointment with us, to make the necessary arrangements before euthanasia. By doing it this way, you will be contacted by the crematorium when your pet's ashes are ready for collection at the site. The crematorium has two private rooms for you to be with your pet on arrival and to finalise your requests.
Our local pet crematorium is: Phoenix Pet Cremations. For contact details and to visit their website click here . We offer a simple range of the individual ashes options through Millennium, including simple wooden caskets with brass name plates or scatter tubes/boxes; if you would prefer to scatter your pets ashes in a favourite spot. But if you want something different or want to see what other choices there are, please visit their website to see the full range of individual cremation options. Phoenix also deal direct with a number of jewellery and accessory companies including: Ashes to Glass; See You Memorial Jewellery; Atlantis and Paw Print Jewellery. These are all listed on the Phoenix's website direct to see the full range. Please note prices on the Phoenix website does not include euthanasia or cremation costs, see 'fees' below.
We may recommend that you deal with Phoenix Pet Cremations direct if you have more specific individual cremation requirements.
As a practice, we have a close working relationship with Phoenix, over a number of years. Many of our staff members have visited the premises to see for themselves how the cremation process works. In addition to this many of us have taken our own pets to be cremated there and we trust the Crematorium's working practices. Individual cremation means just that - your pet will be cremated on its own. The crematorium has a robust system to ensure you only get your own pet's ashes back.
A further option is to consider gifting your pet to veterinary education, following euthanasia. The Veterinary Education Pet Gifting Programme ensures your pet will be treated with dignity and respect and is one way of ensuring that the loss of your pet helps sick animals in the future. See next section.
Pet Gifting ProgrammeYou may wish to consider the Pet Gifting Programme as an alternative to the burial and cremation options mentioned above. We are sometimes asked if a pet can help other pets after they have passed away, in the same way people opt to leave their body to medical science. The answer is yes, there is an opportunity for this.
Pet Gifting supports veterinary education and is one way of ensuring the loss of your pet helps sick animals in the future; helping vets and nurses learn and develop new skills and procedures that will benefit future generations of pets. All deceased pets are treated as a whole individual and with dignity and respect. You will have the opportunity to share your pet's photo, write information about them and if you like leave their favourite toy and/or blanket which will remain with them the whole time.
We manage the whole process for you and liaise direct with the Pet Gifting staff at Improve International, if you choose to consent to this. As a thank you, your pet's ashes will be returned to you in a wooden casket, following individual cremation or if you prefer you can opt to have a donation paid direct to a charity of your choice.
Click here to download the Pet Gifting Leaflet. Please contact us for further information.
NOTE: If you have already consented to the Pet Gifting Programme, we will direct you to https://apricelessgift.com, to submit any information you wish, as part of the application for Pet Gifting. For completeness, the clinical history of all patients consented for the Pet Gifting Programme, will be sent to Improve International.
FeesPlease note that fees vary widely depending on the decision you make. Fees are payable at the time of euthanasia - we have an online payment system if you would prefer to leave the practice right away. In the case of individual cremations any outstanding fees need to be settled in full before your pet's ashes are collected. This is standard practice.
A very limited number of insurance policies will accept claims against the cost of euthanasia. You will need to contact your insurance company to check this. If you are able to claim, fees are payable to us and the usual claim process will follow. Where this is part of an ongoing claim, there is no £10 admin fee to process this claim. Please make this clear to us to allow us to process your necessary payments efficiently.
Some of our clients choose to arrange and pay for the service and their selected choices; in advance of the euthanasia appointment with us. Please contact us and we can help you with the necessary arrangements.
- If your pet has passed away at home and you have made arrangements with the the crematorium directly, there will be no associated fees with us and the crematorium will charge you direct
- If your pet has been put to sleep at the practice and you have organised to take your pet direct to the crematorium, we will charge the associated euthanasia fees and the payments thereafter will be between the owner and the crematorium
- Our Millennium Vets end of life fees cover the euthanasia, cremation and if chosen the individual cremation and chosen vessel cost (i.e. casket, urn, ornament etc...). (As mentioned above the overall cost will not be the same as the costs quoted on the Phoenix website, which are for the vessel alone.)
We understand that losing a much-loved companion can be a very painful experience. We promise to do our best to help you through your loss. Please contact us if you wish to speak to our Bereavement Support Advisor. For further information and to enquire about fees, please ring 01376 325511.
Bereavement support & quality of lifeWe understand that losing a much-loved companion can be a very painful experience. We promise to do our best to help you through your loss. Our trained inhouse Bereavement Support Advisor, Tracey Edwards and her colleagues are here to support and help you answer any questions you may have. Whether this is planning in advance or in the days / weeks after loosing your pet.
Considering your pet's quality of life will be important to you. We will guide you through this when euthanasia is a consideration. Our end of life information leaflet has a useful quality of life scale for you to complete at home. The scale is a guide for you when considering the timing of your pet's euthanasia. Click here to download your copy.Alongside the support of our Bereavement Advisor we recommend the following website links to trusted pet bereavement help pages:
Supporting other family petsSupporting other family pets following the passing of a companion is often a worry. Yes, pet's do experience grief. If you are concerned about other pet family members, please contact us for advice. Here are a few advice points to help you:
- If your pet is being euthanised at home - keep other family pet members in a different room. Once your pet has passed away, let the other members come back in the room. Let them sniff your pet if they wish but if they are disinterested or seem anxious or distressed take them away and distract them
- We all miss our pets when they have passed away. Our change in character, because we are sad and distressed, is evident to our pets. Pet's can exhibit behaviour changes themselves after the loss of a pet, but their behaviour can also change in a response to the emotions we are feeling. Trying to keep as calm as you can around your pet over the subsequent days and weeks can help with this.
- Some pets take interest and some don't. But offering this chance is thought to help the remaining pets in the family to understand that they have passed away. Your pet will be still and smell different to them - this is itself is a change they will recognise.
- Keep to your other pets normal routine - this is important so not to raise anxiety. We are likely to turn to our pets for support - this increased attention towards your other pet's is a change for them and can contribute to anxiety as they work out the changes in your own behaviour they see. Keeping the daily routine the same with plenty of exercise and playtime can help.
- Your other pet family members may benefit from natural pheromone or calming supplements, please contact us for further advice.
- And finally, keeping your pets bedding and items in their normal place for sometime will help your other pets adjust to the changes in your home
Remembering your pet the Millennium WayThere are many ways to remember your pet. At Millennium we have a photo memory picture board in our Bereavement Support Room and you can leave a special message in our memory book. Please send your photo and text to firstname.lastname@example.org if your would like to join the many pets who are forever remembered on our website. All these messages and photos will be kept for years to come as a lasting memory.