Shedding Light on the Small Animal Euthanasia Experience
We understand that saying goodbye to your pets is a very difficult decision. Our goal is to make your pet's transition as peaceful and comfortable for both you and your pet. Sometimes not knowing what to expect is the scariest part so we'd like to explain the process.
- If the euthanasia is planned, when you phoned to book the appointment our staff will ask you if you'd like to stay with your animal during the euthanasia process or if you'd rather not. We understand that this is a very personal decision and respect whichever you choose. The reason we ask is so they can be sure to schedule enough time so no one feels rushed through the process. If you choose not to stay, please know that your pet is still treated with the highest level of respect and the euthanasia process is the same.
- Our staff will ask you what you would like done with your pet's remains. It can be helpful to think about this beforehand so you can discuss it with your family and not feel rushed. The options are as follows:
- Burial. If you'd like, you are more than welcome to take your pet home for burial. Our staff will help wrap your pet up and transfer them to your vehicle after the euthanasia.
- Communal cremation. Should you prefer to not have your pet's ashes returned to you, we will arrange cremation through ATIM Creek Pet Crematory and your pet's ashes will be tended to through them.
- Private cremation. Many pet owners choose to have their pet's ashes returned to them after the cremation process. Your pet will be cremated and the ashes returned in either a velvet bag (for those who wish to spread their pet's ashes) or an urn of your choosing. You can rest assured that your pet will be cremated privately and not mixed with any other animals. We also have several safe guarding measures in place to ensure that the remains you receive back are in fact those of your pet.
- Clay Paw Prints. We also offer imprints of your pet's paw and name as a keepsake in baked clay for those who would like this.
- Upon arrival at the clinic feel free to leave your pet in the vehicle or bring them inside with you, whichever is more comfortable for you. Our staff will verify if you'd like to be present or not, and what you'd like done with the remains. They will also complete the billing process with you so that you can have privacy afterward.
- After you're check in, you and your pet will be directed to one of our private rooms. The veterinarian will review the euthanasia process with you and discuss any concerns you may have. Once you're ready, the veterinarian will give an intramuscular injection (often in the bum) to your pet that is a combination of a strong sedative and pain reliever. This allows you to have time with your pet while they get relaxed and sleepy, which usually takes about 5-10 minutes. Once your pet is relaxed, we will place an intravenous catheter into their leg. This is a small poke that most pets don't mind and allows us easy access to their bloodstream without having to stress them unnecessarily. When you and your pet are comfortable, the veterinarian will administer the euthanasia solution. This is an overdose of an anesthetic drug, meaning your pet will feel like they are falling asleep. It is a very peaceful way for them to cross over the rainbow bridge.
- If you've had a previous bad experience or have any specific requests, please let our reception staff or the veterinarian know so that we can be sure to address these prior to your pet's euthanasia.
Small Animal Euthanasia FAQ's
- Is it scary?
- We do everything in our power to limit the stress and anxiety associated with euthanizing your pet. Please know that you pet will not feel any pain but rather will drift quickly into unconsciousness. Some pets may stretch out, vocalize, take some gasping breaths, or have subtle muscle tremors. This is nothing they are aware of and is a natural part of the body's letting go process.
- Do you offer at home euthanasia services?
- In most situations our veterinarians are able to come to your home to euthanize your pet if this is your preference. Please keep in mind that this is only for pre-planned euthanasias during business hours and we cannot guarantee transport of your pet's body to the clinic afterward (often size dependent).
- How long does the process take?
- Euthanasia appointments generally take 20-30 minutes. This allows for time to complete the check in process, sedation, and euthanasia.
- It generally takes about 5-15 minutes for your pet to get sleepy prior to the euthanasia injection. Once the veterinarian administers the injection, most pets will pass on in only 1-2 minutes.
- We encourage our client to take as much time in the room as they need after the euthanasia. We understand saying goodbye is very difficulty.
- Is there a pill or something I can give my pet at home to euthanize them?
- No. The drugs we use to euthanize pets can only be administered by a veterinarian and need to be given by intravenous injection.
- Do you perform "convenience" euthanasias?
- No. We believe that every pet deserves a chance at life, therefore we do not offer euthanasia of healthy animals. If you are unable to keep your pet for some reason, please phone and speak with a staff member about surrender and animal rescue options.
On behalf of the staff at Mayerthorpe Veterinary Services, we are honored to pay respect to our beloved animal friends who have passed. We work closely with Atim Creek Pet Crematory to ensure your animals are cared for with respect.
For private cremations, many urn options are available. They can be viewed on their website by clicking here . Please call the clinic for accurate pricing information.
Large Animal Euthanasia
We offer euthanasia for large animals, specifically horses and camelids. The process may vary depending on the situation and animal's temperament, but they are typically sedated with a mild tranquilizer followed by an overdose of an injectable anesthetic drug. In most pre-planned euthanasias, the animal is injected while in a standing position and will drop once the drug has taken effect. This can be traumatizing for some people to witness, so we do not require you to be present once the animal has been properly identified and sedated. Keep in mind that the drug we use is an anesthetic, so the animal is not conscious when they go down.
We understand losing any companion, especially horses, can be a profound loss. At your request we can braid and remove a portion of your horse's tail to be made into a keepsake. Donna Murray in Lethbridge makes some beautiful custom creations. You can find out more information on her website: https://www.customhorsehairand...
Because the drugs that are injected can be hazardous if ingested, the body must be buried, cremated, or rendered.
- Burial: Owners are responsible for ensuring proper burial of deceased or euthanized animals. For more information and burial specifications please see:
- Cremation: ATIM Creek Pet Crematory will pick up and cremate deceased large animals, including horses. Please contact them for current pricing.
- Rendering: West Coast Reduction LTD provides rendering services for deceased and euthanized large animals. Please phone our Mayerthorpe Clinic at 780-786-2000 for the most current pricing information. Please keep in mind they do NOT pick up on farm so the body must be brought to the Mayerthorpe Veterinary Clinic. With the exception of horses that are down and unable to stand, we recommend animals going for rendering be brought to the clinic for the euthanasia procedure.