What do veterinarians use to put animals to sleep?

The death of an animal

Euthanasia is not an everyday routine for us veterinarians either

When is euthanasia a salvation?

Euthanasia - an obligation to protect the animal?

How do I know if my animal is suffering?

Does my animal suffer in death?

Who should be there in the difficult hour?

Sudden death of the animal

What happens to my deceased animal?

Poem on the death of an animal

Children and grief, book tips


Euthanasia is an emotionally difficult decision for everyone

For many people, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds are part of the family. An animal is often a trusted, close companion for years.
It is all the more depressing when the animal dies, becomes decrepit or seriously ill. In the latter cases, the difficult decision must often be made as to whether the animal should be euthanized so that it does not have to suffer any further.
Even for us veterinarians, this topic should not be seen as routine in everyday practice, but we also have to accept the limits of medicine again and again and decide for the benefit or not to let the animal suffer

Unfortunately, this topic is often suppressed until the last day, you don't want to deal with this last step yet. However, we also want to address the subject of death and euthanasia and give you the opportunity to reflect on these points in peace. An information brochure from Waltham was chosen as the basis for this article, prepared by the veterinarian Thekla Vennebusch.

When is euthanasia a salvation?

It is not always easy to see whether an old or sick animal still enjoys life or whether it suffers so much that death is a salvation.
The most important thing is that this question is decided independently of your own personal views and fears - solely in the interests of the animal.
To let an old or sick animal suffer, to turn a blind eye to its suffering, is just as irresponsible as to let an animal euthanize for no reason or prematurely.
Under the burden of responsibility and out of the fear of not making decisions in the best interests of the animal, many pet owners ask for objective criteria for the right time. However, there are no generally applicable rules.

However, the following reasons can be decisive:

Loss of quality of life due to incurable diseases

  • strong pain
  • serious accidental injuries
  • advanced old age
    Unrecoverable circumstances that make it impossible to keep the animal (for example, extreme house uncleanliness due to an organ disease or aggressiveness of the animal)

Euthanasia - an obligation to protect the animal?

According to the Animal Welfare Act, it is forbidden to inflict pain, suffering or harm on an animal for no good reason. It is a criminal offense to inflict long-lasting or repetitive significant pain on an animal.

But what does >> add << mean?

Not only those who are actively responsible for the pain and suffering of an animal are acting against the law. Even those who ignore, tolerate or prolong pain and suffering are acting irresponsibly.

The official animal shelter regulations of the German Animal Welfare Association say:
"The euthanasia of terminally ill animals, which can only continue to live with pain and suffering, is a natural imperative of animal welfare.

How do I know if my animal is suffering?

Pet owners know their animals very well. They notice when something is wrong, when the animal suffers and loses the joy of life. References to this can be:

The animal

  • has persistent pain and / or severe pain
  • can or only want to move to a very limited extent
  • can or does not want to eat and / or drink anymore
  • appears apathetic, loses interest and hardly takes any interest in his environment, changes his behavior, is suddenly extremely calm, shy or aggressive

It should be noted that animals often show very late that they are in pain or are suffering. Nature is set up in such a way that a sick animal is not recognized by the enemy as weak and therefore easy prey. However, due to its natural enemies, nature also has a type of euthanasia to shorten the long path of suffering of a sick animal! An old, sick animal will always be easier prey than a young, persistent animal. In this way, healthy animals are preserved longer for the reproduction and species maintenance of this population!

This natural enemy is absent in our pet keeping. Therefore, in some cases it can make sense to euthanize a terminally ill animal before its disease has progressed very far. This can prevent unnecessary suffering.
Basically, the state of health of the animal, the type and extent of its disease and the general condition are decisive. But the age of the animal and its individual nature must also be taken into account.

A dog that is already very calm and reluctant to move will suffer less from restricted mobility than a spirited whirlwind. A cat that loses an eye in an accident does not necessarily lose its zest for life. But if the brain and nerves are so damaged that the animal regularly has symptoms of failure and can no longer move independently and in a coordinated manner, this is an ordeal.
Ultimately, only the owner can judge whether the life of his animal is still worth living or has already become a torture - unfortunately, no one can make this difficult decision for him. In the event of unanswered questions, uncertainty and doubts, the veterinarian with his professional advice - and his experience - is a valuable help that the animal owner can trust.

Does my animal suffer in death?

The medical term for euthanasia is "euthanasia", which comes from the Greek and translates as "good death" (Eu = good, thanatos = death).
However, many pet owners have concerns that the animal could suffer while being euthanized, or experience death consciously. This concern is unfounded.

When an animal is euthanized, it is injected with an anesthetic, just like with surgery or tartar removal. The animal is first put into a deep anesthetic, pain sensation and perception are completely switched off. Only then does the animal receive an overdose of a drug; in deep anesthesia it then stops breathing and the heart stops beating. However, the animal no longer perceives it!
Under certain circumstances, it can happen that the animal still moves during or after being euthanized, and that it defecates or urinates. However, these processes do not take place consciously, the animal no longer notices anything. Muscle movement is just a kind of reflex that can be traced back to purely biochemical processes in the body. Discharge of feces and urine occurs as a result of the relaxation of the respective sphincter muscles.

Who should be there in the difficult hour?

Whether the owner wants to be present when the animal is euthanized is a very personal decision for which there is no generally applicable right or wrong.

A poem for the last lesson: poem ......

Anyone who thinks they cannot deal with the situation and cope with it should do without it.
This question should not be decided at the last minute. Doing this spontaneously when the situation is imminent can be overwhelming. The resulting restlessness can spread to the animal. Likewise, it should be considered beforehand whether the accompaniment of a close, trusted person could be helpful and desirable.
If the animal was a member of a family with children, they should also have the opportunity to accompany the animal in its last minutes if so desired. For children in particular, it can be important that a familiar animal does not simply disappear from their lives. Scientific studies have shown that children who are there when their animal is quietly asleep and can see with their own eyes that it is doing well can deal with the loss surprisingly well.
From our own experience, however, we warn against transferring the decision whether an animal has to be euthanized to the children. They are often overwhelmed when it comes to making decisions about letting go or releasing their pet, the decision should be made by the parents and the reasons should be clearly explained to the child.

Children and grief

You will find information and book tips on this important topic on the following page:
Children and mourning for a beloved animal

Sudden death of the animal

If an animal dies in an accident or from an acute emergency illness, this means a sudden confrontation with death for the owner. He could not prepare himself for the farewell internally. This can initially trigger a state of shock, which is very often followed by feelings of guilt. The owner reproaches himself for not having fulfilled his duty of supervision and due diligence. But no animal can be saved from all risks. Some consolation is:
Thanks to certain freedoms, the animal has experienced its life particularly intensely

What happens to my deceased animal?

There are basically three options:
One is that the vet takes care of the dead animal. He makes sure that it is taken to a so-called carcass disposal facility and burned there.
Furthermore, a company can be commissioned with the special cremation of the animal in a pet crematorium via the veterinarian. There are options for collective cremation or individual cremation with the ashes being returned in a small urn.
We are currently aware of the following small animal funeral homes in our area:

Abendrot, Hofheim-Wallau Tel: 0176/66 66 11 29 Abendrot
Pax animalis, Griesheim Tel: 06151/1541332 Pax animalis

Another possibility is that the deceased animal is taken away by its owner. Then he is responsible for ensuring that the animal is buried or cremated in accordance with legal regulations.
Pet owners with their own property can bury their animals themselves. Provided that the property is not in a water protection area. Furthermore, the grave must be placed at a sufficient distance from public roads and be at least 50 cm below the surface of the earth.

In Wiesbaden, burials are allowed on your own property!

Exceptions:
Animals may not be buried in parks, public green spaces or in the forest.
Those who do not own their own property can, however, take advantage of the services and services of animal cemeteries or animal crematoriums.

 

More pages on this topic:

Children and grief

A poem for the last hour

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