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.

Bereavement support & quality of life:

Our trained inhouse Bereavement Support Advisor, Tracey Edwards, is here to 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.  This is something we will guide you with 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.  Please visit our downloads page to view our 'Assessing Your Pets Quality of Life' leaflet, click here.

The euthanasia process:

If, 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 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.  
  • 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.  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 options:

Taking your pet home to be buried is a good solution for many owners, and is perfectly legitimate. 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.  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*.

*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.  As mentioned above, we have two visits a week and these are generally on a Tuesday and Friday.  It usually takes approximately 1 week for your pet's ashes to be returned to us, but this can vary 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 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 then 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.

Fees:

Please 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, an excess and co-payment may be payable at the time, unless there is an open ongoing 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.

Please note:
  • 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.

Support during times of pet bereavement:

Alongside the support of our Bereavement Advisor we recommend the following website links to trusted pet bereavement help pages:

Cats Protection: Coping with the loss of a cat click here
RSPCA: Pet Bereavement click here 
Blue Cross: Bereavement Support click here

Supporting other family pets following the passing of a companion:

Pet's do experience grief.  If you are concerned about other pet family members, please contact us if you would like further 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