Bringing life to death

I spent this Wintery afternoon nestled with my cat and zooming in on the Australian Veterinary Palliative Care conference.

A fabulous line up of wonderful speakers across a diverse range of topics that collectively make up this space of end of pet life care.

This is a space where I feel I come in to my own as a veterinarian, not just for my technical skills, but for my ability to connect with pets and their people through this profound life phase.

People often say to me, “I don’t know how you do your job”.

In honouring my end of pet life purpose: “that every pet deserves a good death, and every human deserves choice in how they say goodbye”, I am working from an aligned and connected place which is a source of compassion satisfaction for me.

Today, I spent my afternoon with other vets, physios, vet nurses, social workers and counsellors in this space that honour the special role we play in supporting pets and people through end of life.

The topics covered today reinforced to me that we do end of pet life well at Cherished Pets, and that we never stop learning and connecting to doing it better.

  • Helping people know when it is time, respecting and holding space for those facing the death of a loved one,
  • Different timelines for different types of death (sudden, terminal illness, organ failure, frailty),
  • Frailty – I loved that we discussed this as I talk about this one alot with my patients’ people,
  • Ethical decisions around natural death vs euthanasia, and the role of euthanasia in preventing suffering (and how blessed we are to be able to offer this option for our cherished pets),
  • Furthering my understanding of night time restlessness which is such a common issue for geriatric pet owners,
  • Recognising and managing degenerative lumbosacral disease – and best ways to manage, so our cherished pets remain mobile and pain-free for longer,
  • That common one we face as palliative care vets: managing chronic vomiting and nausea, and maintaining appetites in older pets. So many options here!
  • Considerations for end of life conversations. Something our CP Care team does really well. We dedicate our hearts, time and resources to ensuring people feel heard and empowered as we navigate this top of end of life phase for our cherished pets.

Shout out and congratulations to the speakers today: Dr Jackie Campbell, Rosie Overfield, Dr Anne Quinn, Dr Heather Chee, Brooke Williams, Dr Gemma Birnie, Rosie Overfield and all the team who make up the Australian Veterinary Palliative Care Council.

To find out more about our very special dedicated end of pet life service, get in touch via or email alicia@socialheartedvet

Published by Social Hearted Vet

Community hearted veterinarian. Social Entrepreneur. Thought leader. Advancing Veterinary Social Work Advocate for the Human Animal Bond and One Welfare. Mother. Friend. Cares for our planet.