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Written by Dana Scott on April 30, 2012. Posted in Holistic Care

Last week, I was faced with the prospect of a dying dog.  My Aaron had been suffering from a brain tumor and was slowly declining.

I reluctantly attended a trade show for a week as Aaron was pretty stable and still enjoying his food.  The morning of my return, he simply stopped eating.  When I saw him, I could tell he was getting ready to transition.  He began to decline and sought out solitude and was not really that aware of our presence.  He didn’t appear to be in pain and my plan was to simply watch him and wait for him to tell me he wanted me to help him.  I wasn’t fond of the idea of euthanizing him because that would mean a visit to the emergency vet and not our regular vet, but I would do whatever was necessary to help him.

On Sunday afternoon, Aaron’s breathing became more labored and he became restless although he was still reasonable comfortable and peaceful.  I decided at this point to turn to homeopathy.  There are a few remedies from which to choose to help pets cross comfortably.  The remedies will not help your pet die, but they will assist the process.

I gave Aaron a dose of Aresenicum album 30c.  Miraculously, within a minute, he came back to me and put his head on my lap, his favorite place to be.  I held him and gave him permission to pass and told him to not be afraid of death or of hurting me.  We sat like this for an hour and then Aaron drifted off into a nap.  When Aaron awoke, he was once again restless and I sensed that perhaps the next day I would have to euthanize him.  I gave him another dose of Arsenicum and he once more relaxed.  One hour later, Aaron died on his bed, in his home.

I had once read about allowing pets to die at home and thought it cruel at the time.  In Aaron’s case, I believe he waited for me to pass and I owed it to him to have faith that he knew what he was doing.  If he were suffering greatly or fearful of the process, I would have stepped in, but it seemed that Aaron was completely in control of the process and my only job was to give him whatever I felt he wanted.  When Simon passed in January, I wouldn’t have dared let him pass on his own as he was very stressed and fearful and I couldn’t put him through it.

Would I allow another dog to pass at home?  I don’t have an answer for that, only that with each and every dog, I will try to listen to what they are telling me and grant them every wish.  If you want to be prepared to help your dog pass, whether at home or at the vet, there are a few remedies you might want to have on hand.  Deliver them every couple of hours until you see results and if you don’t see results after three doses, move on to a different remedy.

  • Aresenicum album  30C  This is arguably the first remedy to consider.  Symptoms include restlessness, fear, discomfort, extreme weakness, increased thirst and coldness.
  • Tarentula  cubensis 30C  This remedy often fits the cancer picture and the end stages of death with great pain, crying and intense restlessness with less fear than Arsenicum.
Below, the master homeopath James Tyler Kent discusses the use of homeopathy in the last moments of life.
I am frequently asked. “What should be done in times of great suffering for immediate relief?” To those who desire to obtain reliable information, and who wish to practice in accordance with our principles, I would say. “Take the symptoms of each individual case and select the remedy capable of producing similar symptoms.” In a general way this is all that would be expected of me for an answer to the question, by those who are conversant with our materia medica.

Consumptives often suffer greatly when left to themselves, and some medical practitioners, knowing no better way, give Morphine and other stupefying agents, thinking that they allay human suffering. This kind of practice cannot be too strongly condemned. Firstly, it is an acknowledgment that our homoeopathic law is not all- embracing; secondly, it is the poorest kind of relief to the patient. But I would not deprive medical practitioners of all means of relief for their patients, without furnishing as good or better ones.

The consumptive, when going down the last grade, needs the comfort of a true healing art, and not the make-shifts of mongrelism of allopathy. The homoeopathic remedy is all that he, who knows how to use it, needs to allay the severest distress. Every true homoeopathist knows the value of these wonderful remedies.

A few hints may not be out of place. When the hectic fever, that so rapidly burns the patient up, is in full blast, with the hot afternoon skin, the night sweat, the constant burning thirst, the red spot on the cheek, the diarrhea, the stool escapes when coughing, the intense fever in the afternoon, the constriction of the chest, suffocation, etc., then should Phosphorus very high be administered, but never repeated. An aggravation will follow, but it must not be meddled with, as it will soon pass off, leaving the patient free from fever, and he will go on till death, many times, comfortably. It is regrettable meddling that causes the dying man so much misery.

The distressed suffocation and inward distress in chest and stomach, streaming perspiration, great sinking, must have the clothing away from the neck, chest, abdomen, ghastly countenance, and choking, call for Lachesis, and it may be given as often as occasion requires, but to give satisfaction and prompt relief, not lower than the two hundredth potency.

To this ghastly picture, if we add, he is covered with a cold sweat, and there is one on either side of the bed fanning him, and the abdomen is distended with flatus, and the breath is cold, Carbo vegetabilis in water every hour for six hours, and stopped, will give rest and beatitude with many thanks.

But the time is yet coming when even these remedies will not serve us. The ghastliness of the picture has not changed, and to it we have added the pains of dying cells–death pains, the last suffering. Such pains come on when mortification begins. If it is in the abdomen, we may avert it by differentiating between Arsenicum and Secale, but if this pain comes in the last stage of consumptive changes, we are beyond these remedies. Much later there is a remedy, and it is Tarentula cubensis. It soothes the dying sufferer, as I have never seen any other remedy do. I have seen Arsenic, Carbo vegetabilis, Lycopodium, Lachesis, act kindly and quiet the last horrors, but Tarentula cubensis goes beyond these. I have lately administered it in the thirtieth centesimal potency.

When death is inevitable, and when the first-named remedies seem to be mostly indicated, but no longer act, and the friends say: “Doctor, cant you do something to relieve that horrible suffering? ” the pain, the rattling in the chest, with no power to throw the mucus out; the patient has but a few hours to suffer, but he can be made as quiet as with the terrible Morphine in a very few minutes by Tarentula in the thirtieth potency.

I believe that no physician would use a narcotic if he only knew a better way.  What is more inhuman than to leave the suffering patient in his last moments to writhe in the agonies of dissolution, surrounded by weeping friends. The true physician will embrace the opportunity to exercise his skill at these moments. It has come to pass that I am invited frequently to stand at the bed of moribund patients, whom I never attended during their curable ills, and as many times do I thank the Grand Master for the wonderful means of allaying the pangs of the flesh, without resort to the necessity of departing from that homeopathic law which I have so many times pronounced universal, even in the last moments–a euthanasia.

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Many pets suffer with chronic diseases, such as cancer, that can often be managed in such a way that life is prolonged, although the quality of life is greatly diminished. For most pet owners this issue greatly influences the decision concerning euthanasia. Certainly, quality of life is a personal judgment; you know your animal companion better than anyone else. And while your veterinarian can guide you with objective information about diseases, and even provide a personal perspective of a disease condition, the final decision about euthanasia rests with you.

What Ailing Pets Should Be Able To Do

If you are considering euthanasia, here are some guidelines to help you decide whether your pet would benefit. Pets with chronic or incurable diseases that are given proper medication and care should be able to:

  • Eat, drink and sleep comfortably without shortness o

    f breath

  • Act interested in what’s going on around them
  • Do mild exercise
  • Have control of their urine and bowel movements – unless the disease affects one of these organ systems
  • Appear comfortable and free of moderate to severe pain

    Of course, whenever there is a chronic condition, some days will be better than others and one should learn to expect the natural “ups and downs” that attend most chronic disease conditions. You must determine what balance is acceptable for your own situation. Speak with your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns regarding the diagnosis or treatment of your pet’s disease.

    The Effects of Medication

    If your pet is taking medication for a disease condition, ask your veterinarian if side effects of the medicine could be involved with any adverse symptoms such as lack of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea (but DON’T stop giving prescribed medication until you speak with your veterinarian). Sometimes it is the medicine, not the disease, that makes a pet appear more ill and adjusting the dose or changing the medicine can have a very positive effect.

    The High Cost of Care

    Of course, some diseases are very difficult, expensive or time-consuming to treat. The medical bills that may accumulate can influence your decision regarding euthanasia. These are practical decisions that must be made relative to your own financial and family situations. Though a lack of financial or personal resources for medical care may be a source of guilt to you, it is better to discuss the overall situation with your veterinarian rather than allow your pet to suffer without proper veterinary medical care.

    The Hardest Decision

    Euthanasia – often referred to as “putting a pet to sleep” or “putting an animal down” – literally means an “easy and painless death.” It is the deliberate act of ending life, and pet owners that must make this decision often feel anxiety or even guilt.

    Before the procedure is done, the pet owner will be asked to sign a paper that is an “authorization for euthanasia” or similar document. Euthanasia usually is performed by a veterinarian and is a humane and virtually painless procedure.

    Most pet owners are given the following options for witnessing the procedure. They may be present with the pet during the euthanasia. They may wish to see their pet after euthanasia. Or they may want to say goodbye to their pet before the euthanasia and not see their pet after the procedure.

    Will It Hurt?

    Note: The following is a description of a typical euthanasia. If you do not wish to read about this procedure, please close this document.

    Euthanasia is very humane and virtually painless. First, you will be asked to sign a paper – an “authorization for euthanasia” (or similar document). Once you have decided upon your involvement n the euthanasia process, you will need to decide what you would like to have done with the remains. You can discuss your options with your veterinarian before the euthanasia procedure.

    Euthanasia is usually performed by a veterinarian. The most typical procedure involves an intravenous injection of a barbiturate anesthetic given at a high concentration (overdose). In general, the euthanasia is rapid, usually within seconds, and very peaceful. Your pet will just go to sleep. On rare occasions there may be a brief vocalization or cry as consciousness is lost; this is not pain although you may misinterpreted it as such.

    Within seconds of starting the injection the anesthetic overdose will cause the heart to slow and then stop, and any circulation in the body will cease. As the heart stops and the blood pressure decreases, the unconscious animal will stop breathing, circulation to the brain will cease and your pet will die peacefully.

    Once your pet has died, you might observe involuntary muscle contractions or respiratory gasps about one or two minutes after the loss of consciousness and circulation. Again this is not evidence of pain or consciousness, but instead, it represents a physiologic response that occurs whenever the brain is deprived of circulation. The unconscious animal may also lose bladder or bowel control. Veterinarians often cover the pet immediately after injecting the euthanasia solution to partially shield the pet owner from these physiologic responses, which may still be disturbing.

    After the Goodbye

    Before the euthanasia, discuss what you want done with the body with your veterinarian. Again, this is a matter of personal taste and preference.

  • Burial at home. Many people who own their homes chose to bury their pet in their yards. Great care must be given to bury your pet deep enough – at least three feet – to deter predators. It is recommended to wrap your pet in plastic and place several large rocks on top of their remains before covering with earth. Many cities have ordinances against home burial so check with your local officials before laying your pet to rest.
  • Cemeteries. Similar to human burial, a casket and headstone are selected. Services are available with or without viewing of the remains. Ask your veterinarian or check your local telephone directory to find a nearby pet cemetery.
  • Cremation. Typically, cremation is available in most large cities. Some crematories will privately cremate your pet so you can save the ashes for scattering, burial or storing in an urn. Check with your veterinarian about contacting an animal crematory center.
  • Other options. There are a few nontraditional choices available regarding the handling of pet remains. Some people choose to consult a taxidermist and others may be interested in cryogenics, which involves freezing the remains. Research and many telephone calls may be necessary to find sources for these options.

    Dog Owner Comments

    We at PetPace.com have received several emails from dog lovers that wanted to share their experience about this topic. We wanted to share them with you. Go to: Dog Owners Comments About How to Know if it is the Right Time to Euthanize .

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