Learn the art of beautiful euthanasia

Anyone who has ever put a beloved pet to sleep might wonder if there’s such a thing as a good euthanasia.

Kathleen Cooney, DVM, MS, CHPV, and a leading authority on companion animal euthanasia, says yes.

“A good euthanasia is one that holds beauty in the presence of extreme sadness and heartbreak,” Cooney says. “It is transformative for all loved ones left behind.”

A past President of the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care(IAAHPC), Cooney says euthanasia is one of the most important procedures that you offer to your animal patients. Companion animals hold a special place in the hearts of their caregivers, so It’s imperative that everything go well, and that everyone present feel safe and supported.

But even under the best circumstances, attending a euthanasia can be challenging, not just for the client but also for the veterinarian and hospital staff involved.

And according to Cooney, the experience itself has changed.

“Companion animal euthanasia has evolved past the confines of the injection itself,” she says. “It now comprises a delicate weaving and blending of emotional design elements that will provide the caregiver with love and support while giving the pet the beautiful death it deserves.”

For Cooney, the experience of administering euthanasia, and tending to the emotional wellbeing of the people most affected by it, approaches art.

In fact, she refers to it as “the art of beautiful euthanasia experiences.”

It’s an art she intends to teach through workshops with the companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy (CAETA).

Cofounded by Cooney in 2016, CAETA teaches veterinarians and veterinary team members the skills they need to make every euthanasia a peaceful, memorable, and beautiful experience.

CAETA’S 2017 inaugural workshop is coming up November 2-3 in Loveland, Colorado. During the one-and-a-half day, 10-hour continuing education certificate program, Cooney will train veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary students, and euthanasia technicians, in all aspects of companion animal euthanasia.  

The techniques Cooney teaches are the same techniques commonly used in human-animal bond centered hospitals and clinics. Coursework topics include drug pharmacology, caregiver considerations, pre-euthanasia sedation protocols, euthanasia techniques, case reviews, and more.

Representatives from the AVMA, AAHA, Fear Free Alliance, IAAHPC, and NAVTA will be on hand. Find out more by visiting CAETA’s website.

Photo credit: © iStock/sanjagrujic



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