End of life care if never an easy process for pet parents. For folks that are not sure how to decide when the time has come that their pet is having more bad days than good days we offer in home consultation to assess quality of life. For pets with terminal disease we offer hospice care to help keep them comfortable as long as their owners feel they still have adequate quality of life. When the times comes that your beloved pet no longer has an acceptable quality of life we provide peaceful in home euthanasia and transportation for those that would like pet cremation.
We offer at home euthanasia and veterinary hospice care to make the experience as comfortable and stress free as possible for both the pet and the family that loves them. Every pet receives sedation and pain medication so they are very relaxed and pain free for the entire process. Once your pet is sleepy we then administer IV anesthesia so they are completely unaware when euthanasia is administered. We have developed this process so that we can ensure that your pet is peaceful, pain free and experiences no stress during the process. This process allows pets parents to be with their beloved pet for the entire process and allows the pets they love to be very relaxed during the entire process and to pass away peacefully as they drift off into eternal rest. We offer at home euthanasia, veterinary hospice care and pet cremation for dogs, cats and horses living in Fort Bragg NC, Spring Lake NC, Fayetteville NC, Hope Mills NC, Raeford NC, Dunn NC, Southern Pines NC, Aberdeen NC, Pinehurst NC, Cameron NC, Lillington NC, Sanford NC, Jackson Springs NC, New Hill NC, Fuquay Varina NC, Angier NC, Whispering Pines NC, Seven Lakes NC, West End NC, Cary NC, Apex NC, Bunn Level NC, Anderson Creek NC, Vass NC, Carthage NC, Benson NC, Parkton NC, Moncure NC, Pittsboro NC, and surrounding areas in the Sandhills. We provide services to most of Harnett County, Cumberland County, Lee County, Hoke County and Moore County.
We ask that you have a thick, comfortable blanket for your pet to lay on. Our entire focus is making the experience as peaceful as possible for pets and their owners so we like to have the pet wherever they are most comfortable which sometimes means the backyard under a favorite tree, on the couch or another favorite resting area. If your pet is still eating, please have their favorite foods on hand so they can snack on them as they receive their sedation and become sleepy. If they are able to stand, please take them outside to urinate within an hour of the appointment time. Pets with a full bladder will often urinate when they become deeply relaxed from their sedation if they are not given the chance to eliminate prior. If your pet is unable to stand or it would be painful for them to do so, please have a thick towel under them so they can maintain their dignity and not soil themselves as they become deeply relaxed from the sedation and pain medication.
Following euthanasia, owners may elect to bury their pet at their home or elect for cremation service. For those that want to have their pet cremated we arrange this service and ensure careful transportation to the crematorium. Pet owners will then be contacted by the crematorium when their pet’s remains are ready and can choose to have creamains delivered to their home or to pick up.
The cost for in home euthanasia is $195 plus home visit mileage. This includes sedation/pain medication so your pet is completely relaxed and not feeling any pain or anxiety, peaceful euthanasia and clay paw print. If you would like a keepsake fur clipping please let us know and we are happy to provide that for you. Additional fee may apply for pets over 100 lbs or for appointments that are outside of our normal appointment hours, however for owners that are unable to schedule during our regular hours or for pets that have a sudden need for peaceful euthanasia we do everything we can to accommodate.
We offer in home quality of life evaluation for pet parents that are unsure of their pet’s quality of life and are having trouble deciding if now is the time to schedule euthanasia or if there are other options to help improve their pet’s current state. During these visits Dr. Commerford will perform a physical exam, discuss any medications your pet is on, discuss their daily routine, review quality of life markers and discuss if there are things that can be done to improve or preserve the current state of your pet. If it is decided by the pet owner that they are unable to do things that could could improve quality of life or if the pet owner determines that they feel their pet no longer has quality left humane euthanasia will be discussed and can be during the same visit or scheduled for a future date. It is our opinion that we need to let pet parents know their options and allow them to make the decision that is best for themselves, their family and their pet; we do not judge and there are no right or wrong decisions as long as the decision is made with the pet’s comfort and well being as the top priority. The cost for in home quality of life evaluation is $120 plus mileage. Please set aside 45 minutes for this evaluation to allow time to evaluate your pet and discuss any options there may be.
Cremation cost includes transporting your pet from your home to the crematorium. Dr. Commerford will make all arrangements on your behalf so you do not need to worry about logistics in your time of grief.
General cremation with no remains returned $99 for pets up to 100 lbs.
Private cremation with urn $199 for pets up to 100 lbs. Pet owners that select this option will have their companion cremated individually and elect to have remains are placed in an engraved wooden urn OR a biodegradeable urn with a Carolina Pine tree seedling. A unique identifier accompanies your beloved throughout the entire process and is checked several times throughout the process to confirm identity. If you would like the engraved wooden urn, please consider what you would like to have engraved. It can be your pet’s name, their name and birth/passing date, or a favorite quote.
For pets over 100 lbs private cremation is $235
The following is borrowed from veterinarypartner.com
The euthanasia decision for a beloved pet may be one of the most difficult choices you must face during your lifetime. It is hard to make a life-ending determination like this for your pet who cannot tell you what his wishes are and yet a judgment call must be made. There are emotional issues such as guilt, grief, and uncertainty as well as financial and/or time commitment matters in choosing to treat or not treat an illness.
When is the Right Time?
There is a point where all the love, attention, therapies, and special foods are just not enough. Saying goodbye is emotionally devastating enough without having to suffer through uncertainty in your decision. In our experience it is always best to plan ahead of time to say goodbye on a good day. Pets that are nearing end of life are often on a roller coaster of good days and bad days. Eventually they reach a point at the end of the roller coaster where they peak and have a good day and then free fall in a rapid spiral of decline. At this point people often need to rush their pet to an emergency clinic for a rushed goodbye. On top of the grief of losing their beloved pet the pet parents are then often racked with guilt and feel selfish for waiting too long. We often hear people in this situation whispering quiet “sorry” to their beloved pet instead of being able to celebrate the happy times and tell them “thank you” for the joy they brought to your life. While it is very hard to impossible to decide what day is the right day, we feel that it is better to say goodbye when they are starting to have more bad days than to wait as long as possible and potentially cause the pet to suffer or need to be rushed to an unfamiliar place for an emergency euthanasia- that is often traumatic for both the pet and the family that loves them. We recommend evaluating your pet on a daily basis and marking on a calendar so you can track good vs bad days. When the bad start to outweigh the good it is time to start planning their goodbye. Make a bucket list of things they like to do and eat. Keep in mind that you may need to modify this, such as a dog with mobility issues cannot take a long hike, but if they are willing to ride in a red wagon you could take them to the park to hang out for a few hours.
Quality of Life Scale Look at each question below and assign a score of 1 for all the time, 2 for most of the time, 3 for sometimes, 4 for occasionally and 5 for never.
Does not want to play
Does not respond to my presence or does not interact with me in the same way as before
Does not enjoy the same activities as before (leash walks, playing with other pets etc)
Demeanor/behavior is not the same as it was prior to diagnosis/illness/current state
Does not seem to embrace and enjoy life
Has more bad days than good days
Is sleeping more than usual
Seems dull and depressed
Seems to have pain/stiffness
Is panting (even while resting)
Is trembling or shaking
Is vomiting, seems nauseous or is experiencing diarrhea
Is not eating well- will only eat special food or if I hand feed
Is not drinking well
Is losing weight
Is not urinating well/ having accidents
Is not moving normally or is reluctant to move
Is not as active as normal
Needs my help to move around
In unable to keep self clean or having soiling issues
Has a greasy, matted or rough haircoat
Dr. Alice Villalobos, a veterinarian who started a quality of life program for terminal pets called Pawspice, has published a scoring system for life quality called the HHHHHMM scale (see scoring system below). Having a quality of life inventory is helpful in seeing your pet’s situation in a more objective light.
Quality of Life Scale. Score patients on each of the following categories using a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest quality of life. A total of 35 points represents satisfactory quality of life. However, if one category is very low, such as pain then we recommend scheduling a quality of life evaluation by Dr. Commerford to see if there are steps we can take to help make the pet more comfortable.
HURT - Adequate pain control, including breathing ability, is first and foremost on the scale. Is the pet's pain successfully managed? Is oxygen necessary?
HUNGER - Is the pet eating enough? Does hand feeding help? Does the patient require a feeding tube?
HYDRATION - Is the patient dehydrated? For patients not drinking enough, use subcutaneous fluids once or twice daily to supplement fluid intake.
HYGIENE - The patient should be brushed and cleaned, particularly after elimination. Avoid pressure sores and keep all wounds clean.
HAPPINESS - Does the pet express joy and interest? Is the pet responsive to things around him or her (family, toys, etc.)? Is the pet depressed, lonely, anxious, bored or afraid? Can the pet's bed be close to the family activities and not be isolated?
MOBILITY - Can the patient get up without assistance? Does the pet need human or mechanical help (e.g., a cart)? Does the pet feel like going for a walk? Is the pet having seizures or stumbling? (Some caregivers feel euthanasia is preferable to amputation, yet an animal who has limited mobility but is still alert and responsive can have a good quality of life as long as caregivers are committed to helping the pet.)
MORE GOOD DAYS THAN BAD - When bad days outnumber good days, quality of life might be compromised. When a healthy human-animal bond is no longer possible, the caregiver must be made aware the end is near. The decision needs to be made if the pet is suffering. If death comes peacefully and painlessly, that is okay. What we want to avoid is waiting too long, causing the pet to suffer, needing to rush to an emergency clinic for euthanasia and feeling guilt for waiting too long on top of the grief that is expected when we have to say goodbye to someone we love.