Toronto Veterinarians - Pet Wellness Network

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Contact Willowdale Animal Hospital

Open 24 Hours, Year Round

256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

Ideally we would love our pets to live very long lives and die peacefully in their sleep, and some do. But we also know that if our pet is seriously injured, terminally ill or very old and no longer thriving or enjoying a good quality of life, there will come a time when we have to say goodbye. And we may have to decide if it would be kinder for us to consider euthanasia to prevent further suffering. This is a very difficult and personal decision. Your veterinarian, family and friends can all be helpful and supportive as you move through this decision.

You know your pet best and probably will notice a change in behaviour if his health starts to fail. Always talk with your vet to find out what may be causing these symptoms, and if it is treatable: Some warning signs that your pet may be suffering and possibly nearing end of life.

·       Not eating or drinking
·       Withdrawn or lethargic
·       Neglecting himself, no longer grooming
·       Incontinence
·       Signs of pain, he may cry out if touched, difficulty with mobility.
·       Cannot get comfortable
·       Unwilling to move around
·       Obvious tumours or injuries
·       Unable to hold his head up when resting
·       A known terminal illness or condition such as Feline Leukemia, Feline Infectious perotinitis, kidney/liver failure or cancer.

As vets we can be a great source of advice if it becomes apparent your pet is nearing the end of its life, and while we cannot make the decision for you, we can help you to decide when it’s time to let go. You can also learn about euthanasia and how it is performed . You may want to consider if you would prefer to bring your pet to your vet, or have them visit your home. There are many after-care options, too. You may choose private cremation, request a paw print on a memorial stone, or choose other ways to memorialize your pet. Or you may choose to let your vet humanely handle your pet’s remains (always cremated). You may also want to know about counselling services as you grieve the loss of your pet.

It may be a good idea to talk with your vet, or vet staff, about the options before you are in the position of having to make any decision. That way, you’ll already have some information and can give some thought to what you might want to do if the time comes when you need to make this decision. There is good information on many veterinary websites, too, such as the American Veterinary Medical Association’s – – where you can download a free pamphlet.

If you have further questions about end of life options for your pet, contact your local Pet Wellness Network Animal hospital.



Photo credit ~ “AJ,” the dog pictured above belonged to Dr. Dilworth of Beaches Animal Hospital and was euthanised in October of 2011 after battling lymphoma for 12 months. He will be sadly missed.

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