For Sepsie

While I love all animals, I’m known for being partial to cats. This wasn’t always the case – in fact, prior to having a cat, I really never understood their appeal. I questioned the redeeming value of owning something so aloof and independent. Dogs, with their unconditional love and constant want to please, were my … Continue reading For Sepsie

Do we “replace” our pets when they pass?

Many owners look to purchase or adopt a new pet following the loss of a prior companion. I’m frequently consulted as to my opinion the best time to consider bringing another dog or cat into the household. Should they do so prior to the death of their beloved friend, or wait until after they have … Continue reading Do we “replace” our pets when they pass?

When cancer hurts, but only part of the time…

People readily associate a diagnosis of cancer with severe adverse clinical signs. I’m not speaking of the effects of chemotherapy or radiation; rather I’m referring to the decline in a patient’s quality of life occurring secondary to progression of disease. Regardless of whether the patient is a human or an animal, we’re equally capable of … Continue reading When cancer hurts, but only part of the time…

Have you always wanted to be a veterinarian, but couldn’t because of this one thing???

When someone I’ve met for the first time discovers I’m a veterinarian, reactions vary from detached amusement to wild-eyed enthusiasm. The latter is far more common as there appears to be unexplainable mystique and awe surrounding veterinary medicine as a career choice. About one in five people I meet will exclaim, upon hearing what I … Continue reading Have you always wanted to be a veterinarian, but couldn’t because of this one thing???

Survival time isn’t the end…

Most owners of pets with cancer are fixated on the familiar phrase “survival time.” The words describe the approximate length of time a pet is expected to live following its diagnosis. Survival time is a meaningful endpoint to measure for humans with cancer, where death occurs as a natural part of disease progression. In veterinary … Continue reading Survival time isn’t the end…

Quality of life over life at all costs

Humans with terminal cancers or with widespread metastases are offered treatment with the hope of an extended lifespan, despite a grim prognosis. People are routinely administered second, third, fourth, and beyond treatment plans when they fail to respond to the frontline therapies. This is done with little to no evidence-based information that would suggest such … Continue reading Quality of life over life at all costs

How much is too much?

I regularly face owners who decide not to pursue therapy for pets that have what are considered treatable cancers. The reasons for this choice can stem from concerns for too many vet visits, too much strain for the pet to go through, projection of their own feelings about cancer treatments on their pets, or financial … Continue reading How much is too much?

What do you think about grief?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about grief. I’m not sure if it’s associated with the particularly gloomy run of cases I’ve seen at the clinic or the personal stress and sadness I’ve recently faced, but something is pulling my emotional barometer towards focusing on the different ways people inwardly, and outwardly, express grief. I’ve … Continue reading What do you think about grief?

Do Veterinarians Owe Owners Anything After A Pet’s Death?

Several years ago, an owner scheduled an appointment with me about a week after I’d euthanized their pet. It was an unusual request, seeing as though their pet was no longer alive and in need of my services. I urged the owner to call me or email me with any outstanding questions or concerns. It … Continue reading Do Veterinarians Owe Owners Anything After A Pet’s Death?

Quality of death in real time

Mornings are when I catch up on current events and scan social media for trending topics.  While the news streams live on my TV in the background, I give cursory review to the headlines along my Twitter and Facebook feeds and The Huffington Post.  I'm aware of the dubious nature of those sources with regard to authenticity and content, but nine … Continue reading Quality of death in real time

Why I don’t worry about quality of life sometimes…

When faced with a diagnosis of cancer, invariably the most consistent concern owners have is being assured of maintaining their pet’s quality of life. Though they may have trouble with articulation, and stumble over word choice, I know they wish to select a treatment plan that refrains from inflicting pain or adverse side effects while … Continue reading Why I don’t worry about quality of life sometimes…

What does Obama have to do with Euthanasia?

Your travels through social media may have brought you to a photojournalistic webpage of a dog named Duke’s final day of life (see: http://www.robynarouty.com/i-died-today/) If you not seen it before, I’ll issue a fair warning to be sure you have a handful of tissues nearby before opening the link. The images and words are guaranteed … Continue reading What does Obama have to do with Euthanasia?

No one wants to talk about it, but it’s something we all must face: All about euthanasia

One of the most difficult aspects of pet ownership is considering their mortality.   Yes, this is a heavy way to start an article. But reality tempers the excitement of picking out a new puppy or kitten, or adopting an older dog or cat, with the knowledge that animal’s expected lifespan will, in all likelihood, … Continue reading No one wants to talk about it, but it’s something we all must face: All about euthanasia

What would you do if your dog suddenly collapsed and it could be from cancer?

Imagine taking your dog for it’s usual morning walk. Nothing seems out of the ordinary; your companion’s energy level and demeanor is perfectly normal, as it's been for as long as you can remember. Imagine leaving for work, or to run errands for a few hours, and returning home to find your pet completely lethargic … Continue reading What would you do if your dog suddenly collapsed and it could be from cancer?