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Animal Friends Blog


What to do if your pet is diagnosed with a terminal illness

Caring for Wildlife in Summer

There comes a time in many pet-owner’s lives when, against our hopes and prayers, the unthinkable happens and we are faced with the news that our beloved pet has unfortunately been stricken with a terminal illness. At these times our resolve and emotions are tested, and throughout this period we are tried and tested, pitting our love for our pets against the voice in our head that knows what may have to happen.

Be it cancer, a tumour or any other degenerative disease, we know that it will upset us greatly to know our pet is in pain. As we consider them a member of the family, it can be excessively difficult to think of our pets passing away, and even harder still is taking the decision to put them to sleep. There are multitudes of things to consider, however, and all should be taken into account before any decisions are made.

First off, is there any available treatment to consider? Medical treatment for pets has advanced incredibly over the years and there will always be something that can be tried and tested to help alleviate any suffering. If there is a chance for the disease being cured, then it may well be worth considering, but that option has its own pitfalls and brings us to our second point; does the cost of the treatment outweigh your capability to continue affording the costs as well as maintain a stable household finance? Whilst it is admirable to try as hard as you can to keep your pet in the best of health, doing so at the cost of your own well-being may be an impossible situation, and one that you should not feel guilty about avoiding.

Always take into account how your vet has advised for you to continue; they are the best trained for giving such advice, and will always try to help with impartial and thorough advice. It might not be what you want to hear, but in the long run it may be the right advice for your pet. Euthanising your pet may seem like a step too far emotionally, but it is often the kindest choice.

Always discuss every option through with your family, as the pet is as much theirs as yours. Remember that no-one really wants to see their pet pass away, but neither do they want the pet to suffer – talk it through sensibly and you will come to the right conclusion.

If you can no longer afford to keep paying for expensive costs of medicine and treatments, and your pet is showing a sign that staying alive is too much of a painful burden for them, then putting them to sleep is the next step. In a harmless procedure, the vet will inject your pet with the drug and will slowly slip away; in this moment the animal may whine or huff, but this is part of the process and your vet will have explained this to you beforehand. Stay with your pet until they pass, as this will keep them happy and feeling safe before they pass away.

This can be a very saddening time for any pet owner, and it is important to remember that you have cared for your pet their entire life – in helping them end their pain, you have made the greatest and most difficult choice any pet owner has to make, all to help your pet. Remember their passing and all of the times of joy you have spent with them.

To find out more about how to cope with the loss of a pet, visit our blog, article and guide pages. Insuring your pet gives you peace of mind that you and your pet will be covered if anything were to happen. Animal Friends offer a range of policies for dogs, cats and horses, and we also insure older pets.


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Hello, fellow animal lovers! I’m Elena, and I take care of social media for Animal Friends Insurance. I’m here to share the latest on animal welfare, our charity work and pet care. I foster and adopt rabbits and have a rescue dog called Luna.

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