Palliative care refers to the treatment and management of the clinical signs of a disease without necessarily attaining a cure. In palliation, the primary goals are to stabilise the condition, minimise pain, discomfort and stress, provide supportive care and comfort, and thereby return to an improved quality of life.
Palliative care is relevant for all chronic diseases, whether curable or not and makes a very real difference to the quality of life and thus lifespan.
The types of palliation chosen for your pet – be it a more sophisticated or a simpler comfort-orientated approach will depend on your pet, their condition(s), age, temperament and your wishes and limitations.
The most important factors in quality of life assessments are;
Adequate pain control
Freedom from breathing difficulties
Other considerations in evaluating a pet’s quality of life include;
Control of nausea
Hunger, and ability to correct malnutrition
Thirst, and ability to correct dehydration
Hygiene, with attention to soiling and pressure sores
Mobility, especially if assistance is needed to get up, move around and go for walks
Happiness, with attention to whether your pet still expresses joy and interest in what used to give him/her much pleasure. This varies from dog to dog and breed to breed. Some dogs (e.g. Labradors) are highly food motivated, some dogs (e.g. border collies) are highly exercise motivated and other dogs are highly socially owner-bonded. Does your pet seem depressed, lonely, anxious, bored or afraid?
‘Are there more good days than bad days?’
Overall, When bad days outnumber good days, quality of life might be too compromised.
The Guildford Vet offers a palliative care assessment with appropriate management plans to suit you and your pets needs. Contact us for more information.