Today's Veterinary Business

FEB 2019

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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to low-stress handling and specific points of the body being touched or massaged. I encourage owners to spend time snuggling and, if the patient responds favorably, continue to massage and provide firm, continuous touch to low-stress areas such as the shoulders, hips, down the spine and caudal hind limbs. This also could be adapted by replacing touch with brushing if the pet prefers it. With cats, being wrapped periodically in a phero- mone-impregnated towel that has been warmed might be the answer. Euthanasia End of life is part of every patient's journey. For some clients, the ideal environment in which to say good- bye is the home. While in-home eu- thanasia is a wonderful service to of- fer and can cement the client bond, it might not always be possible for veterinarians and their teams. Instead, what is essential is cre- ating a private space in the hospital to allow families to grieve and pro- cess the euthanasia in peace. The space should have soft lighting, a comfortable loveseat or armchairs for clients, and a warmed, support- ed bed for the patient. I like using a battery-operated candle and quiet classical music to create a soft atmosphere. Place a pheromone plug-in for both dogs and cats to support continuous relaxation. If the euthanasia was sched- uled, I encourage the pet owner to administer an oral sedative or anti-anxiety medication the night before and the morning of the procedure to help the patient (and subsequently the client) have less stress. I also recommend the owners bring the pet's favorite treats or toys. Finally, my clients greatly ap- preciate clay paw imprints as a way to retain a positive memory from their pet's final day. The People Part While veterinarians are trained to provide patient care, we have to be cognizant of the fear, anxiety and stress of the client. Having an open conversation at the start of the hospice period will determine the client's goals and expectations, and it's important to be trans- parent about the roles of all the family members. While the twilight of a pet's life can be an incredibly special time for a family committed and bonded to the process, it also can be emotionally draining, stressful and confusing. I suggest pointing out to clients that the best they can do for their pet is to put the pet's welfare first. Encourage emotional- ly struggling clients to consult a grief counselor or therapist. Never short- change your client's emo- tional needs during this difficult time. No matter what kind of lifetime care you provided for the pet, the end-of-life experience is going to be the memory clients carry with them when they decide to bring another pet into their life. As I work with younger asso- ciates delving through their own challenges with the euthanasia process, I try to keep them focused on the incredible importance of the interaction. Interacting with dignity, recognizing and address- ing anxiety and stress, and demonstrating compassion, kindness and sensitivity are crucial. Not only is this essential to lessening compassion fatigue, but it is a unique opportunity to strongly bond to a client through sharing one of the most emotional times in life. Paying attention to minor details and preparing the patient and client can create lifelong goodwill and incredible clients while at the same time help to recharge the heart of the hospital. Fearless columnist Dr. Natalie Marks is co-owner of Blum Animal Hospital in Chicago. She is Fear Free certified. While veterinarians are trained to provide patient care, we have to be cognizant of the fear, anxiety and stress of the client. Probios® Intelliflora® for Dogs and Cats

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