4 ways to (politely) signal a euthanasia

4 ways to (politely) signal a euthanasia

Use these tips to help your entire veterinary team—and other clients—recognize when a euthanasia is happening in your practice.
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Jun 27, 2017
By dvm360.com staff

Euthanasia is a delicate and painful process for clients as they say goodbye to their beloved pets. We’ve combed through our site to share ways veterinarians, veterinary technicians and receptionists gently alert others that a euthanasia is in progress. It signals it’s time for decorum, a respectful attitude and quiet, if possible. Don’t see the strategy you use? Email [email protected] to share your tip.

Click here for more in this package.

Hospice and euthanasia: What’s your role? What can you do to help comfort the pet—and the veterinary client—during those final days? Click here for a role-by-role break down.

A shining tribute to cherished patients

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When a pet has passed or is being euthanized, we put up a sign that says, “A moment of silence—in loving memory,” and light a candle at the front desk so everyone in the clinic can be respectful of the family and their loved one. Our clients really appreciate it.

Kelly Gutierrez, receptionist
Dr. Helmut Block
Cottonwood Animal Hospital
Dallas, Texas

Signal euthanasias at your veterinary practice

We have a very small hospital where laughter and banter carries into the exam rooms, so one of our technicians made heart-shaped signs to hang on the doors.

They always stay in the door pockets with the white side facing out until we have a euthanasia or quality-of-life exam. The pink side reads, "Quiet please." When the pink side is facing out, every one is on alert to keep their voices hushed.

Terina Dobson, office manager
Poland Animal Hospital
Poland, Maine

Use doorbells to offer peaceful goodbyes during euthanasia

Getty ImagesWe have all dealt with the uncomfortable problem of not knowing how long to wait before going into the room when an owner is saying their last goodbye to their pet. They often say they just need a minute, but then you poke your head in and they’re not ready. Instead of repeatedly interrupting their last minutes together, our clinic has found a way around this.

I purchased an inexpensive wireless doorbell for less than $20. The chime is plugged into an outlet in the treatment area. And when the patient is brought into the exam room—after having its IV catheter placed—we hand the pet owners the doorbell ringer and tell them to take as much time as they need and to press the button when they’re ready for the doctor to come in.

This not only allows uninterrupted private time for the owner and patient but frees up team members and doctors to do other things while the owners and patient say their goodbyes.

Pamela Kwiatkowski, DVM, MS
Flagler Animal Hospital
Flagler Beach, Florida

Turn off the lights for veterinary clients

We turn off lights in the hallway behind exam rooms when we perform a euthanasia. It reminds us to quiet down so we don't disturb clients during this emotional appointment. It works really well. We turn the lights back on after they leave.

Heather Short, DVM
Pet Vet Family, Pet Care Center
Kalamazoo, Michigan