The Best and Worst Things to Say to People in Grief

By CAETA Administrator / December 1, 2021

Grief is such a hard thing. We live in a death-denying society. We hide away our emotions and are shamed into feeling we should be getting over the loss in some well-defined timeline. But grief in pet loss needs to be witnessed, whether death happened naturally or through euthanasia. Grievers don’t want to feel like…

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Oxytocin and Euthanasia; An important combination to get right

By Kathleen Cooney / November 15, 2021

Recently I have fallen in love with the love hormone oxytocin. While learning ways to establish rapport and build trust with pet owners, this ‘moral molecule’ as it’s sometimes called was just begging to be explored further.  Many of us know oxytocin as the hormone that promotes prosocial behavior such as bonding, wanting to be…

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Why the Use of Intravenous Catheters are Gold Standard in Companion Animal Euthanasia

By Kathleen Cooney / November 1, 2021

If you take a moment to reflect on the most dangerous substances we inject into the body, you may come up with the same answer as I did.  Chemotherapy.  These drugs by nature destroy cells, and cause considerable damage to tissue in areas of accidental contact such as extravasation outside of the venous system.  They…

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Recognizing Complicated Grief in our Clients

By CAETA Administrator / October 15, 2021

Dave Shuey, MSW, RVT, CHPT. We all tell ourselves that euthanasia has the effect of ending suffering, both for the terminally ill or injured pet, as well as the owner who may have been carrying burdens of care and concern throughout the course of events leading up to euthanasia. How often do we acknowledge the…

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Euthanasia Drugs; Administration rates matter

By Kathleen Cooney / October 1, 2021

If euthanasia becomes necessary to relieve suffering, it should be handled with respect and skill. The speed at which euthanasia solution is administered effects two main things; potential pain and active signs of death. For the most part, veterinarians are taught to inject quickly but it turns out this is only correct part of the…

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Stress + Symptoms = Euthanasia?

By Kathleen Cooney / September 15, 2021

The effects of stress on both animals and humans has been well documented, showing how stress can weaken the immune system, trigger the onset of cancer, increase inflammation, upset the gastrointestinal tract, and leave the body in a general poor state of health. It can look like the end of days for many pets, especially…

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Special Quotes to Carry Us in End-of-life Work

By CAETA Administrator / September 1, 2021

By Lianna Titcombe, International Director for CAETA When I first became a veterinarian some 20 years ago, I suffered from crippling imposter syndrome. What fool had given me this DVM degree? What bigger fool had given me my dream job? I started out as an emergency and critical care veterinarian at one of the largest…

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Pet Loss Support Groups and Resources; Caring for pet owners after euthanasia

By Kathleen Cooney / August 15, 2021

Grieving pet owners benefit when they have access to pet loss support information.  There are a variety of resources on the internet, however many of them are out of date and no longer in service.  The Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy (CAETA) has created this list of mainly US-based pet loss support groups, with some…

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7 Steps to Begin Your Euthanasia-Specialty House Call Veterinary Practice

By CAETA Administrator / August 1, 2021

This is a blog for veterinarians interested in starting house call or mobile practices incorporating in-home euthanasia (IHE), at-home euthanasia (AHE), or end-of-life (EOL) services. This includes 7 steps to help with the basics of licensing, legalities, business, as well as the practical, financial, & emotional aspects of starting or building a house call veterinary practice.

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senior dog before pet euthanasia by vet

Euthanasia Comfort Rooms

By Kathleen Cooney / July 15, 2021

A pet owner once asked me what’s the most important thing in my euthanasia comfort rooms. Kleenex was my response. The floor could be dirt and the room cold; as long as we keep compassion and the bond front and center, nothing else matters. I believe this for sure however having special touches to keep…

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A Message to Pet Owners; It’s your decision when to euthanize

By CAETA Administrator / July 1, 2021

Written by Dr. Kari Trotsky with Peaceful Endings for Pets. Being a veterinarian, it may surprise you to know I’ve been on the receiving end of a family member and later, a friend, telling me that it was time to euthanize my own pet. I felt angry and hurt they would imply that I’m holding…

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Special Update: Pentobarbital alternatives

By Kathleen Cooney / June 19, 2021

While pentobarbital shortages are lessening in some parts of the world, many are still without and seeking safe and reliable alternatives. Pentobarbital is the #1 go-to drug for animal euthanasia in many countries. It is reliable with consistent dosing, with minimal side effects leading to a peaceful death when performed properly. Proceeding without this familiar…

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Deceased Pet Care; Beyond the basics for ideal pet owner support

By Kathleen Cooney / June 16, 2021

To go beyond the basics, we’d best start with them so everyone is on the same page.For generations, the go-to plan at most vet hospitals has been the following…~ Pet owner chooses euthanasia~ Hospital asks if they want private or communal cremation~ Pet passes, owner departs~ Hospital places the pet in a cadaver transport bag…

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Sir Henry’s Law

By Kathleen Cooney / June 1, 2021

I’ll begin by saying I try to remove myself from politics whenever possible.  There are inner powers at play that go beyond my comprehension, and when you know little of the mechanisms, it’s best to steer clear until you do.  However, there are times to explore something deeper to understand why it exists and what…

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Pentobarbital Shortage Concerns 2021; Have no fear

By Kathleen Cooney / May 14, 2021

Pentobarbital is almost back.  Where has it been you ask?  If you perform many euthanasias in your line of work, you know it’s been scarce for months, in the US and other parts of the world.  Due to complications from COVID at one overseas factory (affecting the US supply), and a reported explosion at another…

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Oral Pre-Visit Pharmaceuticals for Euthanasia; Go big

By Kathleen Cooney / May 1, 2021

I’ll be the first to tell you I like my patients calm and peaceful before euthanasia. Who wouldn’t? Relaxed pets are easier to work with and this leads to a better experience for everyone. Serenity of mind and body before euthanasia is always welcomed. This is especially true for those pets who may be fearful…

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Companion Pot-bellied Pig Euthanasia Requires a Special Touch

By CAETA Administrator / April 15, 2021

Written by Dr. Annie ForslundEdits by Dr. Kathleen Cooney Potbellied pigs are darling creatures loved by families around the world. They have full personalities to match their equally robust shape. Many veterinary professionals have steered clear of euthanasia procedures due to their size and often sensitive temperaments, however with the right combination of gentleness and…

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Workplace Pet Loss

By CAETA Administrator / April 1, 2021

Written and shared with permission by River Valley Gateway. With 67% of Americans owning some sort of pet, it’s no wonder that our furry friends play such a vital role in many of our lives. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, however, only 7% of businesses allow pets in the workplace. This discrepancy…

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certified cat euthanasia location

Taking a Deeper Look at Intrarenal Euthanasia Injections in Cats

By Kathleen Cooney / March 27, 2021

In the coming days, a group of authors including myself are about to finally submit an academic paper on intrarenal euthanasia injections in cats. This study, first started in 2011, looks at the reliability of this technique in felines and the methodology to carry it out. What we found when following the American Veterinary Medical…

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Telehealth and Euthanasia; How they fit together

By Kathleen Cooney / March 15, 2021

Telehealth is a hot topic these days. COVID has opened our eyes to what’s possible in the modern tech era. Vet med has been utilizing telehealth since the invention of the telegraph, but these days it includes text, phone call, video chat, emails, and every digital communication platform you can think of. While euthanasia requires…

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Retiring the CAETA Commitment to Excellence Seal

By Kathleen Cooney / March 1, 2021

Since the inception of the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy in 2017, the Commitment to Excellence Seal has been offered to graduates of the 10-hour Master Certificate Program for use in their business profiles; to show their commitment to gentle and skilled euthanasia. CAETA wanted to create something that would be a constant reminder for…

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Pet Euthanasia During COVID; a 2021 update

By Kathleen Cooney / February 15, 2021

With the COVID pandemic continuing on, CAETA would like to take a moment to address a bit of the new normal around pet euthanasia during this unique time. In a blog post from spring 2020, we reviewed some of the ways veterinary teams (including home euthanasia providers) can adjust and safely continue the work. Provide,…

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Preparation for a Peaceful Goodbye

By CAETA Administrator / February 1, 2021

By Dr. Amy Sugar: As veterinary professionals, we are privileged to provide our patients with one final service — ending their suffering through euthanasia. We also have the opportunity to honour the human-animal bond by recognizing the impact of the patient’s relationship with the family. It is a final gift we can give our patients…

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Pet Euthanasia Holds Legacies

By Kathleen Cooney / January 21, 2021

The very first home euthanasia appointment I facilitated was a bit of a debacle. The dog’s name was Sage and she was an old, beautiful Golden Retriever. While she ultimately did have a peaceful passing, the technical challenges I faced in those 60 minutes stuck with me for years. Looking back, it would have been…

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Pet Loss Bereavement Training for 2021

By CAETA Administrator / January 1, 2021

By Summer Brooks, RVT The dawning of a fresh New Year often motivates us to look around for new ways to be inspired. How can we add more value to the services we provide? How can we offer deeper and more meaningful support to the animals and pet guardians we serve? One way to find…

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Controlled Substance Handling by Veterinary Technicians in U.S. Mobile Euthanasia Services

By Kathleen Cooney / December 15, 2020

“If confusion is the first step to knowledge, I must be a genius.” ~ Larry Leisner To say controlled substance management is confusing is an understatement for most of us. Just when we think we’ve got it down, a conversation with a colleague can get us thinking we’ve dropped the ball on best practices. The…

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It’s All About Safe Space

By Kathleen Cooney / December 1, 2020

True or false:  A good euthanasia is one that is skillfullly performed and the desired death comes quickly.  The answer is true, but there is often hidden context to questions and answers.  It turns out there is so much more to euthanasia; it’s an experience from beginning to end. A grieving woman who is haunted…

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Pet Euthanasia During the Holiday Season; An extra layer of sadness

By Kathleen Cooney / November 17, 2020

For many of us, holiday celebrations include our pets. In my home, the dogs have stockings, leftovers are shared, and we will snuggle in to watch traditional holiday movie classics. If we are lucky enough for snow to fall fresh and bright, the dogs will partake in sledding and steal our hats in great fun.…

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Pet Euthanasia Work Has Ups and Downs

By Kathleen Cooney / November 2, 2020

Talk with anyone who performs euthanasia regularly and they’ll tell you the number one comment they hear from clients is “Your job must be really hard” or “I couldn’t do what you do”. Clients are gently sharing empathy with us and acknowledging what may be correct. It’s true euthanasia work has tough days. Watching people…

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Euthanasia the 2nd Most Common Procedure in Vet Med?

By Kathleen Cooney / October 14, 2020

We all know euthanasia is a necessary part of veterinary medicine.  It is an ever present procedure to be called upon when suffering is assured and when the burden of care outweighs our resources (physical, mental, financial, spiritual).  As Dr. Frank McMillan once spoke about, administering euthanasia solution is the ultimate palliative treatment that eliminates…

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Doing Better Through CAETA

By CAETA Administrator / September 16, 2020

By Stephanie DiTraglia, CAETA Administrative Assistant Like many of us who find ourselves within and among the veterinary industry, I’ve always known the animals’ world is where I wanted to be. Also like many, I thrive and find fulfilling satisfaction when I contribute to the ‘greater good’. The desire amongst veterinary care professionals to elevate…

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By Kathleen Cooney / August 13, 2020

A Newer Meaning to a Relatively New Word I’m guessing that if you’ve been practicing veterinary medicine long enough, you’ve had the misfortune of witnessing a euthanasia gone wrong. You may be the unfortunate one who facilitated it. Such a euthanasia rattles us, hijacks our thoughts, and forces us to relive it over and over.…

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Useful Phrases to Lend Support

By Kathleen Cooney / August 3, 2020

Since 2006, I’ve built up a large library of useful phrases and sentiments to share with clients during euthanasia appointments. Knowing the exact time to offer them can be challenging, especially since you won’t know the full context of the situation until you are engaged in it, but take a moment and picture yourself with…

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Veterinary Technicians in Euthanasia Work; Encouragement

By Kathleen Cooney / May 7, 2020

Could our profession be utilizing highly skilled and empathetic veterinary technicians/nurses to perform companion animal euthanasia rather than us relying mostly on veterinarians?  Around 20% of US states allow vet techs to do so with direct veterinary supervision, meaning the veterinarian is on site and overseeing the euthanasia procedure.  This is an important step to…

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A Pet’s Home Burial

By Kathleen Cooney / April 13, 2020

As the days warm, pet owners who’ve lost a pet tend to contemplate the option of home burial.  There is no set figure on how many people choose backyard burial over pet cremation or pet cemetery burial, but the number is likely very high. Handling things themselves increases their ability to design the event to…

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COVID-19 and Home Euthanasia; Suggested tips to reduce exposure

By Kathleen Cooney / March 18, 2020

The following are suggested tips to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission during home euthanasia work. Note these have not been reviewed by health officials and you are encouraged to adhere to local ordinances as well as your own scientific understanding of disease mitigation. When in doubt, follow your instinct, keeping safety at the forefront…

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Emotionally Intelligent Euthanasia (EIE)

By Kathleen Cooney / March 2, 2020

Emotionally Intelligent Euthanasia A veterinary student recently shadowed me for a week to learn how I cope with the emotional strain of euthanasia-centric work.  Her backstory was filled with highly sensitive post-euthanasia episodes, wherein she needed to cry; intense crying for upwards of 15 minutes.  It was deeply affecting the rest of her day and…

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Euthanasia Protocol Change Takes a Euthanasia Action Plan

By Kathleen Cooney / January 8, 2020

Have you ever gone to an educational conference and learned so much you didn’t know where to start? It’s easy to get overwhelmed with information and then struggle implementing it in your daily work. The ideas you heard were wonderful, useful, and potential game changers for your team and your patients. It’s essential to act…

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Equine Euthanasia; Imagining the ideal

By CAETA Administrator / December 4, 2019

Written by David Shuey RVT, CHPT Lily was an elderly Arabian mare who lived with chronic laminitis in her later years. In recent weeks, her pain had become unmanageable. Her owner called my attending veterinarian and me out to euthanize her beloved horse whom she had owned, cared for, ridden, and loved for decades. We…

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Resisting Complacency in Euthanasia Work

By Kathleen Cooney / November 4, 2019

A colleague told me recently how frustrated she was when a client verbally lashed out at her following a dysthanasia (bad death experience). The client was upset with the dog’s negative reaction to the pre-euthanasia sedation injection and the vet’s apparent ‘non chalant’ attitude to the dog’s distress. Wanting to get the bigger picture, I…

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A Guide to Intracardiac Injections by Dr. AJ Smith

By Kathleen Cooney / September 29, 2019

The intracardiac injection as a euthanasia technique in animals has been utilized since the early 20th century. The heart is a central vascular pump able to move euthanasia drugs effectively up to the brain, where many anesthetics like the barbiturates impart their actions. While perceived by many as objectionable to watch, the art of administering…

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