The information on this website is only for information purposes and does not replace the advice of your veterinarian. All pets are individuals and without examining your pet, it is impossible to give you accurate medical advice. Always check with your veterinarian before using any information you read on this site or any website. The advice and comments found on this site are not a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, treatment or advice. Dr. Walter Lam and Mobile Veterinary Services are not responsible for any damage, illness, death or harm that occurs from information found on this site or links from this site to other resources.
Crossing the Bridge
Our pets bring us unconditional love and support. Unfortunately, they do not live forever and one day we must make the difficult decision to ease their passing. Unlike humans, we can give them the gift of euthanasia.
How do you know when it's time?
This is an intensely personal decision that will be different for everyone. No matter when that decision is, you know your pet better than anyone. There is no right or wrong answer. One method is to make a list of the top five things your pet really enjoys doing. For example, a dog might enjoy going for car rides, playing with the kids, chewing on their favorite toys, chasing their ball, and going to the park. If they can no longer do or enjoy three or more of their favorite activities, it may time to start thinking about saying goodbye. Again, this is just an example and it will depend on both you and your animal.
What should I expect from an at home euthanasia?
Your pet can have a special meal or treats right beforehand, though it is advisable to keep them on their regular diet more than 12 hours in advance to avoid digestive upset. First, we will discuss with you the process. We can perform the procedure in your home, in your backyard, in your car, or even near a quiet park or woods. Your pet will then receive an injection similar to those when given their vaccinations to make them sleepy and calm. Depending on the pet's medical condition, we may place an IV catheter once your pet is sleepy and comfortable. The IV catheter is typically placed in one of the back legs if possible so you can be comfortable near their head. Two injections are then used. An anesthetic just like what is given before surgeries is first given and the euthanasia solution that stops the heart is given after. The process is fast when using the IV solution and they will be completely unconscious when given the last injection, so your pet will not feel any pain. They may sigh, vocalize, contract their muscles slightly, or void their bladder or bowels, though often they pass quickly and peacefully.
For very ill or old cats and small dogs, their veins may not accommodate an IV catheter. The euthanasia solution is injected into the belly under sedation and they will fall asleep in your arms and pass on after 10-30 minutes.
During the process, you may take as much time before and after the procedure is performed to be with your beloved pet.
Who should be present during the procedure?
This is completely up to you. If you and your family wish to be with your pet during their final moments, that is fine. If you do not and wish to step out of the room before the last injection is given, that is perfectly fine too. Whether your children can observe is also up to you. Dr. Lam has worked with children from infants to 10+ years. Our experience is that simple honesty in the proceedings is best, whether you chose for them to watch or not. We generally recommend that other pets not be immediately present during the procedure, but some animals seem to accept the process if they can see their companion afterwards.
How much does it cost to perform an at home euthanasia?
The price of an at home euthanasia for cats and dogs is $320 (between the hours of 9am-5pm), $420 (between the hours of 5pm-12am when an appointment is not made in advanced), $520 (between the hours of 12am-9am). This includes the fee for the house call, physical exam, sedation, placement of an IV catheter if necessary, and the euthanasia itself.
Cremation service will cost $137.00-$435.00 (Depending on the weight of the animal). The ashes will be returned to you with this services. You can also opt for the ashes not to be returned in which case, the ashes will be disposed of by the crematory via release into the sea typically (We have no control of this services so we can not be 100% sure of where the animal's remains will end up). This service is less expensive. Prices are approximatly $2/lb. with a $25.00 minimum. (*prices subject to change via the crematory, we have no control over prices of the crematory)
Delivery to Crematory is $50.
It is entirely up to you on what you wish to do with the body after Euthanasia. If you wish to keep the body for burial or for other services, please let us know. We are happy to help you as much as possible no matter what you decide.
Do you perform emergency at home euthanasias?
Yes, though if your pet's health is in decline and you feel euthanasia may be imminent, please contact us as soon as possible so we can counsel you and plan ahead for what your wishes are. If your pet requires an emergency at home euthanasia performed because of sudden catastrophic injury or illness and transport to a veterinary emergency hospital is not feasible, the fee is $420 (between the hours of 5pm-12am when an appointment is not made in advanced), $520 (between the hours of 12am-9am) and will be performed as our schedule allows.
How do I handle aftercare of the body?
This entirely depends on your wishes. Some cities permit burial of a pet in the backyard as long as it is dug deeply enough. Others do not.
The following cremation services are available in the Honolulu area. We can help arrange transport with this service for a fee.
The Oahu Pet Crematory
Some owners also opt for a post mortem examination (necropsy) to determine the cause of disease or death. Mobile Veterinary Services can perform this service. Individual cremation is also available with this service. We can typically arrange transport of the body to the diagnostic laboratory for an additional fee.
What are some resources for handling the grieving process?
The American Veterinary Medical Association has put out information for pet loss.
How Do I Know It's Time?
Understanding Your Loss
I recommend the book Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die by Jon Katz (Random House, 2011). A beautiful video preview can be found here:
"Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die"
Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement www.aplb.org
New England Pet Hospice: http://www.newenglandpethospice.com/
Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine: http://www.tufts.edu/vet/petloss/
Michigan State University Pet Loss Hotline
Cornell University Pet Loss Hotline http://www.vet.cornell.edu/Org/PetLoss/
Argus Institute http://csuvth.colostate.edu/diagnostic_and_support/argus/
Pet Loss Grief Website www.petloss.com
Widsom for Pet Parents: www.veterinarywisdomforpetparents.com
Mon-Sun 9am -5pm
(After Hour Emergency Services Offered )