When Is It Time to Euthanize a Pet?

As a veterinarian, people often come to me for counsel on when it is time to euthanize their pet. These caring people face a tough dilemma. On the one hand, they do not want to rob their pet of life. On the other hand, they do not want their pet to suffer.  It is a tough decision that often leads to the comment, “I wish they could tell me what they want.” Well, pets do tell us in subtle ways when they are suffering.

Dr. Alice Villalobos has developed an assessment tool to help people with this difficult decision. The HHHHHMM Scale assigns looks at 7 different areas; hurt, hunger, hydration, hygiene, happiness, mobility and more good days than bad. A number for 0 to 10 is assigned to each category then tallied. According to Dr. Villalobos a score greater than 35 is viewed as an acceptable quality of life and warrants continued hospice care.  It is a wonderful tool that I recommend to my clients.

Here is the link: http://www.pawspice.com/downloads/QualityofLifeScale.pdf

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.

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