End-of-life (EOL) care and decisionmaking embody the critical final stage in a pet’s life and are as important and meaningful as the sum of the clinical care provided for all prior life stages.
The overarching goal of EOL care in veterinary medicine is to maximize patient comfort while minimizing suffering, utilizing a collaborative and supportive approach with the caregiver client.
It’s no secret that today’s pet owners increasingly view their pets as family. Forty-percent of surveyed owners said they would likely not return to a veterinary hospital where they had an unsatisfactory pet euthanasia experience. That’s why AAHA developed a new accreditation model called End-of-Life Care accreditation.
2016 AAHA/IAAHPC End-of-Life Care Guidelines references
Both euthanasia and hospice-supported natural death are medically and ethically acceptable options in veterinary EOL care and animal hospice. Deciding between humane euthanasia and hospicesupported natural death should be the result of a collaborative discussion involving the caregiver and the animal hospice team.
The 2021 AAHA/AAFP Feline Life Stage Guidelines provide a comprehensive, age-associated framework for promoting health and longevity throughout a cat’s lifetime. This executive summary provides highlights.