Palliative & Hospice Care

Helping Improve Your Pet’s Quality of Life

At Parkway Veterinary Hospital, we understand that as pets progress in their diseases, choices may be made to prioritize symptom care and quality of life. As part of your pet’s care team, we can discuss your goals of care and help tailor a treatment plan based on you and your pet’s needs. Examples of what might be included in a treatment plan include pain control, mobility assistance, nausea and appetite control, assistance in managing dementia, discussion on assisted vs unaided death and the preferences surrounding this event.

Below you will find some resources to help you assess your pet’s pain, presence or absence of dementia (canines) and overall quality of life. You may find it helpful to print these forms and have your veterinarian review them with you.

Feline Pain Scale

Canine Pain Scale

Assessment of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction/Dementia

Quality of Life Scale from Lap of Love

Interactive Hospice Journal and Quality of Life Scale from Lap of Love; Families can create a free account to help track quality of life in their animal companions.

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of pets who are suffering from a life-threatening illness. It focuses on prevention and relief of pain by means of early identification and reassessment to refine the plan over time.

Palliative care:

  • Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
  • Offers a support system to help pets live as actively as possible until death
  • Intends to enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness
  • Discussing the pet's situation and the reason for the appointment
  • Is applicable early in the course of illness and in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care is similar to palliative care, but it occurs when attempts to cure the illness have stopped for the benefit of the pet. For humans, hospice care is the phase when a patient has stopped treatment in order to live their life as fully as possible before nature take its course

Hospice care:

  • Focuses on making the pet’s final days or weeks as pleasant as possible
  • Utilizes a proper administering of pain medications, dietary strategies and human interaction
  • Is careful not to prolong the suffering of pets who are in pain or experiencing poor quality of life
  • Emphasizes the principle that death is a part of life and can be dignified

What Are the Steps to Determine a Palliative or Hospice Care Plan?

At Animal Care Group of Lake Oswego, we utilize a team-centered approach which addresses the needs of pets and their families. While developing these approaches, the following steps will usually be taken:

  • Identifying the pet as a palliative care or hospice care patient
  • Conducting a physical exam and a health assessment
  • Discussing the pet’s situation and the reason for the appointment
  • Working with clients to mutually agree on which problem(s) will be addressed
  • Providing clients with any follow up recommendations or resources, including a list of caretakers, products and/or at-home euthanasia services

We Put the Well-Being of Pets First

At Animal Care Group of Lake Oswego, we pledge to make your pet’s journey as pleasant as possible for both you and your pet. We promise to treat your best friend with respect, compassion and kindness throughout the duration of their time with us, and we pledge to work with you to give your pet the best life possible.

We encourage you to ask us any questions you may have regarding palliative care, hospice care and anything else.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” — Anatole France