Sometimes there may be a situation where extending the life of an animal means prolonging its torment. In this case, it is more merciful to the pet to resort to euthanasia.
Very often, the owners of seriously ill animals can not decide on this step. Of course, because psychologically it is extremely difficult for a normal person to decide to take someone’s life, even with someone else’s hands. To this is added a natural reluctance to lose a beloved friend, and sometimes the fear of the procedure itself, the fear that leaving life will be painful and will cause additional suffering to the animal.
In this article, we will try to briefly consider the main issues: how to understand that it is not necessary to prolong the suffering of the animal, what are the ways of euthanasia, how to decide on this step and survive the loss.
Methods of euthanasia
In our country, two main methods of medical termination of life are practiced: anesthesia followed by the introduction of a drug that stops heart or respiratory activity, or the introduction of a muscle relaxant (muscle relaxing) drug ditilin (ListenOn), which blocks the respiratory muscles, usually without anesthesia. Or a combination of these two methods is possible.
The method with anesthesia can be considered more humane. The animal is put under anesthesia, preferably at the fourth stage, the anesthesia is deeper than surgical. After that, magnesium sulfate is administered intravenously or intracardiac. Magnesia relaxes the myocardium and stops heart activity. This is the mildest way in which the animal leaves unnoticed, and without agony.
Instead of magnesium sulfate, sometimes intracardiac administration of an ammonia solution is practiced. with a properly performed procedure, heart and respiratory activity quickly stops, but short agony is possible (manifested by arching the spine). Intra-pulmonary administration of ammonia also gives a short agony, and stops first respiratory, and then cardiac activity. But it happens quickly enough.
The use of ditilin usually looks more “clean”, since the animal under the muscle relaxant can not give out agony. But in the sense of this is a more cruel way. The muscle relaxant relaxes the respiratory muscles, and the animal dies of hypoxia within a few minutes. But, unlike the method with anesthesia, under a muscle relaxant, the animal remains conscious until the last second.
The second method is cheaper, since only one injection is used. Under anesthesia, the cost of the procedure includes both narcotic and neuroleptic drugs used for anesthesia, and intracardiac injection, which costs more than the usual drug administration.
However, knowing how the veterinarian can act, the owner of the animal has the right to ask that his pet be given anesthesia before the last injection.
When to stop
A sick person can decide for himself that he does not want to continue his existence, in some countries euthanasia of people is officially allowed, in the end, a person almost always has another way out.
It is always the responsibility of the owner to make the decision to live or die for a sick animal. And no one can or should influence this decision, no matter how difficult it may be.
No, and there can’t be one answer for everyone in this situation. But the General criterion can be considered, firstly, the painlessness of life (that is, the animal does not suffer from constant pain), and secondly, the “quality of life”. The second criterion, of course, is also highly subjective. The quality of life can be considered satisfactory if the animal does not refuse to eat, despite the severity of the condition, goes out to communicate with the owners, recognizes them, shows a different interest in life, for example, the dog asks to go outside. In this case, of course, there can be no question of euthanasia, even if the animal has to endure heavy procedures to maintain life.
But if a dog or cat’s interest in the environment is clearly lost, the animal lies all the time, reacts poorly to external stimuli, ignores the natural needs of the body, including refusal of food, and at the same time experiences pain – this is a reason to think about whether to prolong such an existence.
If you love me, let me go
By and large, only a combination of these two factors (pain and loss of interest) gives the moral right to think about euthanasia. Owners who have been through this usually say that you can see from the animal’s eyes that it no longer wants to live.
Everyone experiences loss in their own way, just like when a loved one dies. But the consolation in this situation can and should be the fact that your friend is no longer suffering.
Unwillingness to put an animal to sleep, when there are medical indications for this, can be considered as selfishness, self-pity on the topic “how will I be without it”. This is not a reason to prolong unnecessary suffering. In this case, it is better to show the will and remind yourself that the ability to let go in time is also a manifestation of love.
Answer the question: “Did I do everything to help my friend?» All methods of treatment and relief of the animal’s condition have been tried, consultations have been received from all the specialists you trust in this case, all the recommendations have been fulfilled, but no one promises relief, and the pet is getting worse? If all this is true, if the animal can no longer be helped, and its suffering exceeds the pleasure of life, perhaps it is better to give it this last gift – to let it go and not make it suffer.
Hi, my name is Mike Fletcher. I am 36 years old and a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic in Granby Colorado. And this is my blog about Pets. I hope I can answer your questions here.