Thursday, September 6, 2018

5 Things This Tech Wishes You Knew Before Euthanizing



I so appreciated this article, I had to share!

5 Things This Tech Wishes You Knew Before Euthanizing
by KELSEY BETH CARPENTER RVT

Euthanasia. The word itself makes all our stomachs drop. It is a gift to pets and a curse to owners – having the power to decide is something we are not comfortable with. However, when going through the euthanasia process with your own pets, you are in a position to make numerous decisions that can change the course of the overall process.

As a Registered Veterinary Technician, I witness euthanasias on a daily basis. Let me share from personal experience the 5 things I wish every pet owner knew.


1. It’s ok to cry.
People apologize to me all the time for crying over their pets. Whether it’s time to say goodbye, or you are simply having a hard time watching us draw blood on your dog, I wish you knew that I GET IT. Many of us who work in animal medicine (myself very much included) are totally neurotic, hypersensitive, and obsessive when it comes to our own pets. I may seem calm and collected while working with your cat, but that’s because it’s my job and I can’t afford to be any other way if I’m going to be good at it. You best believe that the second my dog so much as sneezes, I go into a total state of panic, lose all common sense, and forget everything I learned in tech school.

So, when you are crying over the pet that you have loved for years, I assure you, I have nothing but respect for you. I respect how much you care. I respect your ability to make such difficult decisions. I respect your bravery. And please know that no matter how demonstrative you may be with your emotions, you are still keeping it together more than I would be in your shoes.

2. Be there, if you can.
I am lucky to work in a hospital where the vast majority of pet owners stay with their pets for the euthanasia process. However, this is not always the case. I urge you to stay with your pets, if you can, for multiple reasons. First, for my sake. One of the absolute most difficult things I do as a Veterinary Technician is take on the role of comforting and loving a pet as they pass on when their human is not there to do so.

It is an incredible weight to try to act on your behalf, and it is emotionally exhausting in a way that I cannot even begin to describe. When you stay with your fur baby, I can focus on my own job, instead of doing both of ours.

Second, for your pet’s sake. The vet can be a very scary place for animals – they don’t understand what all these noises and smells are, or why these strangers are poking and prodding them. Do you want them to experience that fear alone? And have it be their very last memory? Your pet doesn’t know what we are doing or why – they only know that you are there, that you said it’s ok, that you love them.  I remember being a child, and how scary going to the doctor was, but how much more confident I felt with my mom there reassuring me. I imagine that is exactly how pets feel. If you can find the strength to be there, please do so. Please let your love, your touch, your presence be the last thing your pet experiences.

3. Keep the collar on.
One of the saddest things I witness during the euthanasia process is when humans take their pet’s collar off when they are still very much awake. To many pets, taking their collar off can have negative associations. For example, I know my own dog panics when I remove her collar as she knows it’s bath time! I want your pet to be as comfortable as possible, and that means not making any major changes immediately prior to euthanizing.
Pets are much smarter than we give them credit for, and they pick up on the smallest of cues. The unknown is scary to your pet, so even if they don’t know what the cues mean, the idea that something is new and strange and out of the ordinary is enough to cause them some sense of anxiety. So, keep the collar on until your pet has passed. Let them go in the state that they always were.

4. Make it a celebration.
Bring treats. Tell stories. Laugh and cry at the same time. Surround yourselves with all his/her favorite toys and beds and blankets. It’s ok to cry, and it’s also ok to celebrate! I love when people tell me they took their dog to the beach or napped in the sun with their cat right before coming in to the hospital. This is going to be one of the hardest days of your life, but it doesn’t have to be for your pet. I promise that the more you celebrate your pet’s life, no matter how long or short, the easier it will be to continue to live your own once this is all said and done.

It is ok to cry in front of your pet, to tell them how much you will miss them, to let them see you be absolutely beside yourself. I’m sure your pet has seen you at your worst before – I know mine has. But remember to celebrate, no matter how miserable you are. I promise it will make it easier for both you and your pet. What’s more, It will allow you to reflect on the euthanasia experience with positivity – you will remember that you celebrated and you will feel good about having done so.

5. Prepare.

Second, take care of business ahead of time when possible. Sign any required paperwork. Pay the bill. Decide on aftercare. Even go so far as to prepare your next meal ahead of time, arrange a ride, rent a movie, invite friends over – whatever you think might help you cope when you return home from the hospital without your pet. The less you have to deal with during and after euthanasia, the better. I want you to be able to focus entirely on your pet during the euthanasia, and then entirely on yourself afterwards. Let’s do whatever we can to make that possible.

Every euthanasia is different. Some are planned, some are sudden. Some may happen in your home, some in the hospital. Regardless, they are always difficult – to prepare for, to cope with, to experience. I hope these five things will help you to plan ahead and to make the process as beautiful as it can be for both you and your pet.


Kelsey Beth Carpenter is a Registered Veterinary Technician, singer/songwriter, and creator of the Instagram series #ThingsHeardAtAnAnimalHospital. She holds a degree from UCLA and is a Lead Technician at an emergency hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area. Kelsey writes articles and original songs about veterinary medicine – to check 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Keys to Good Oral Healthcare for Dogs



Brushless Oral Care
The Bark | February 6, 2017

February is National Pet Dental Month, the annual reminder that oral care is a vital part of our dogs’ health and wellness. Dental disease can not only affect your pup’s mouth but can also lead to serious problems such as heart, lung and kidney disease. Proper dental hygiene can be promoted in a few ways: 1. Preventive maintenance includes traditional brushing or adhering to new brushless oral care. 2. Plaque removing chew toys and treats can also be helpful. 3. Regular visits to your vet for oral examinations and cleaning.

What is Oratene Brushless Oral Care?
Oratene was created by the developer of Biotene, the #1 dentist recommended product for people with Dry Mouth. Oratene has been formulated specially for pets and based on the same 35+ year enzyme technology. Formerly known at Biotene Veterinarian Brushless Oral Care, Oratene features patented, dual enzyme systems which offer superior brushless oral care to help eliminate odor-causing bacteria and plaque biofilm.
Who will benefit most from Oratene?
All pets will benefit from Oratene but is especially beneficial to pets on medications.
What's the medication connection?
Just like people, pets can develop a condition called Dry Mouth (Xerostomia) due to their medications. Medications can alter the protective benefits of saliva by affecting the quantity or more importantly, the quality. Dry Mouth can lead to bacterial overgrowth, periodontal diseases, inflamed gums and even tooth loss.
What types of medications can contribute to Dry Mouth?
Some of the most common classifications are: Anti-hypertensive/diuretic/cardiac, behavior/anti-anxiety, incontinence, NSAIDs/Pain, anticonvulsants.
What is an indicator a pet may have Dry Mouth?
Halitosis and plaque are the most common; however, there are many others such as thick saliva, inflamed gums, periodontal disease and tooth loss.
Can both dogs and cats use it? Is there an age restriction?
Oratene is formulated to be safe for dogs and cats of any age. Does not contain Xylitol, alcohol, chlorine or toothstaining chlorhexidine so it is safe and recommended for everyday use.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary



I stumbled upon Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in the latest Sunset Magazine and immediately went to their website.  I was so pleasantly surprised with the beautiful sanctuary they have created. Why hadn't I heard of them before?  Best Friends Animal Sanctuary's rich history, attention to detail, and love of animals makes me wish we had a location here in Northern California.  

For over 30 years, Best Friends Animal Society has been running the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals and building effective programs all across the country that reduce the number of animals entering shelters. The mission of Best Friends Animal Society is to bring about a time when there are No More Homeless Pets. They do this by helping end the killing in America's animal shelters through building community programs and partnerships all across the nation. 

Best Friends Animal Society’s lifesaving work began with the opening of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southern Utah in 1984. From there, the work to save the lives of homeless pets spread across the country and has continued to expand. Currently, Best Friends operates pet adoption centers, spay/neuter clinics and no-kill initiatives in Los Angeles, New York City and Salt Lake City, as well as a No More Homeless Pets Network of animal rescue groups in every corner of the nation.