Above all quality of life – treating terminal disease in dogs and cats

The nature of loving our animal companions is that at one point they will leave us. We are blessed with their presence in our lives but they are not blessed with long life like us humans.

Knowing that our animal companions will most likely die while we are still living, means that there will be something that takes them, whether cancer or old age or other diseases.

This does not mean we do not try our best to support them in illness or to treat the diseases that come along that we can. We are given medicine for a reason.

What it does mean is sometimes we need to reach a point of acceptance and do what we must out of love for them and not because we cannot bear to be on this earth without them.

True love sometimes means letting our loved ones die with dignity. It means not doing treatments that cause suffering if there is little hope attached to them.

With cats who live to be independent this is most clear. They often reach a point where they do not want intervention. With dogs who live to please us the line is often blurred.

So what does this mean?

If your dog loves the pizza crusts more than anything in the world and you want to put them on a grain free diet for cancer, allow an occasional pizza crust

If chemotherapy is making your dog or cat sick over and over again unless the good it is doing outweighs the odds it may not be worth continuing.

If you cat is already twenty years old, doing an invasive surgery may not be the best option.

If you can’t afford to pay for treatments without working a second job, think about if the time away from your animal companion is worth it.

If your dog hates acupuncture and shakes in the waiting room, it may be kinder to let them live out their last days at home.

If your cat runs from you every time you give meds, are they really worth giving (I make an exception to pain meds in a painful animal here).

Use your wisdom, find help from either local or online support groups and/or your veterinarian in helping make a decision of what is too much and what is most helpful.

Be kind to yourself, there is not just one right decision.

Do not give up hope but also do not allow suffering. Lead with your heart and your love.

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