Hospice Care

Compassionate care from the comfort of your home

At Greenwood Veterinary House Call Services, we offer animal hospice and palliative care services for pets with life-limiting or incurable diseases and their families.

Animal hospice includes the following services:

  • Care focused on providing pain control and physical comfort to the pet, as well as educational support and emotional comfort for caregivers.

  • A "Hospice Team" of veterinary professionals and support service providers that offer assistance in providing quality of life for the patient that includes palliation of pain and preparation for death.

  • A veterinarian serving as a teacher, enabling family members to care for their pet's medical and emotional needs at home.

  • Time for families to adjust to their pet's progressive disease and say goodbye in a kinder, more personal way.

 

Many pet parents choose hospice care in order to participate in decision making about their pet's end-of-life needs, giving the entire family time to prepare for the pending goodbye to their companions and to plan for a peaceful death.

If you have the resources to support comfort care, the time and desire to care for your pet during the last days or weeks of their life, and a good support team in place, then hospice care may be the right choice for you and your pet.

To learn more about the animal hospice and palliative care services offered at Greenwood Veterinary House Call Services and whether they are the right fit for you and your pet, please call us at 289-987-7297.

For additional resources and a list of Frequently Asked Questions about animal hospice and palliative care, visit the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC)'s website.

Cannabis Consultations

The use of medical cannabis is rapidly growing in human medicine, and similar medical benefits are to be expected with pets as well.  Current legislation, however, prohibits the prescription of medical cannabis for pets, including CBD oil. 

That said, now that all adult Canadians can legally access a range of cannabis products, the potential for pets to be exposed to cannabis inadvertently, or medicated by well-intentioned owners has risen dramatically.  

Deciding to utilize a cannabis product for your pet can be a tricky decision.  If you are considering cannabis for your pet, make sure you have information on product safety, potential drug interactions, and administration guidance to keep your pet safe and working toward optimal health. 

As a founding director and the president of the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine, Dr. Sarah is a great resource for families seeking guidance in this area.

Telehealth Consultations

Telehealth appointments are now available and are conducted through a secure and private video or telephone call with our veterinarian. 

These consultations are available for:

  • Existing patients - for a follow-up consultation

  • Pre-euthanasia consultations - helping families prepare for an upcoming euthanasia appointment

  • Consultations for new patients (Prescriptions for controlled drugs not available, and when necessary patients may be referred to hospital for hands-on assessment or further testing)

  • Licensed veterinarians seeking assistance with one of their patients

Having a consultation through a video or phone call obviously does not allow us to perform a complete physical exam.  Therefore, regulations do not allow us to prescribe controlled medications during a telehealth appointment unless we have previously examined the pet in person.

Common reasons pet families may wish to schedule a telehealth appointment are to discuss what to expect during an in-home euthanasia visit, to go over a recent diagnosis along with possible treatment options, how to assess their pet's quality of life, and to begin the discussion surrounding end-of-life plans, OR to discuss planned (or current) cannabis use for their pets (see above under Cannabis Consultations).

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Professional Pain Management

Meeting pets in their home environment allows us to observe subtle signs of pain that can often be masked by a surge of adrenaline that frequently accompanies a visit to the hospital. 

When pain is identified, we work with you to develop a pain management plan that may include any or all of the following:  massage, chiropractic care, acupuncture, herbal therapies (including hemp-based products), nutritional supplements, laser therapy, heat/cold therapy, at-home exercises, and of course, prescription pain medication.

Environmental Assessment

When we perform a hospice visit, we are not only assessing your pet, but also the environment in which he or she lives.  We will often be able to make suggestions to improve their access to common living spaces, bathroom areas, etc.  These may include improved floor traction, improved stair safety, bedding changes, litter box access, etc.  If you are interested in making any modifications in the home (ie. outdoor ramps), we can even recommend a trade carpenter to help!

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Nutritional Consultation

Just like in human hospice care, the enjoyment and nutritional importance of a good meal cannot be under-estimated.  We will review your pet's current diet and appetite, and offer professional advise on an appropriate prescription diet for your pet's medical condition, review home-prepared dietary options, and when needed, provide appetite stimulants to ensure they continue to receive the necessary nutrients for health.

Mobility Support

Studies have shown that most of our senior pets have some degree of arthritis, which often progresses to difficulties getting around.  Other conditions that affect the muscles, bones, and neurological systems can also impair our pets' mobility.  We can assist in findings ways to support your pet using medications, therapies, and mobility aids such as slings, harnesses, and wheeled carts, as well as doing an environmental assessment and offering suggestions to make your home more "pet-friendly" during this time of their life.

We are proud to now offer Help 'Em Harnesses for our patients.  Not only does a harness make things easier for your pet, but they also make helping your pet easier for you, too!

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Laboratory Testing and Drug Monitoring

As many chronic diseases progress, the focus of treatment also changes.  Periodic laboratory tests can help us adjust your pet's treatment plan to provide the best palliative care options available.
For pets on chronic medications, routine blood monitoring can allow us to ensure they are receiving the ideal dosing, and when necessary, make changes to their medicine

Not currently available during COVID

In-Home Consultations

There are many reasons why people choose an in-home visit.  Patients with mobility issues may have difficulty getting into a vehicle, anxious patients may become overly stressed by travel and in-hospital visits, and in dealing with upsetting news, many clients feel more comfortable being at home.  Whatever the reason, in-home visits allow you to receive professional veterinary care without the struggle involved in getting your pet to the hospital.

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Not currently available during COVID

Acupuncture

Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments. The Chinese also use acupuncture as preventative medicine. Acupuncture is used all around the world, either along or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of conditions in every species of animal. Clinical research has been conducted showing positive results in the treatment of both animals and humans, and the use of acupuncture is increasing. Acupuncture will not cure every condition, but it can work very well when it is indicated.

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Not currently available during COVID

Chiropractic

In concert with appropriate veterinary care, many specific musculoskeletal conditions are well addressed by animal chiropractic, also known as veterinary spinal manipulation therapy.  In addition, numerous animal care-takers understand the value of chiropractic in the overall health and wellness of their dogs, cats, horses and other animals. The benefits of animal chiropractic include enhanced performance, function, and quality of life.

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Not currently available during COVID

Laser Therapy

Laser Therapy is the use of specific wavelengths of light (red and near-infrared) to stimulate the body's natural ability to heal.  The effects of laser energy include improved healing time, pain reduction, increased circulation and decreased swelling.  In palliative care, the use of KLaser therapy can reduce pain and inflammation, improve mobility, and assist in the healing of wounds.

 
 
 
Not currently available during COVID

Grooming

As pets age, they can become less flexible and lose the ability to groom themselves.  Nails can become long, fur matted.  These can cause discomfort to our pets.  When indicated, we can provide basic grooming assistance such as nail trims and shaving of mats, using gentle sedation when necessary.

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