Palliative veterinary care is aimed to increase comfort and minimise suffering in any stage of a pet’s disease. Palliative veterinary care may be appropriate for a pet that had surgery (but still needs on-going support), long term illnesses (chronic pancreatitis, osteoarthritis, Westie lung disease) or many other conditions that require long term management. 

As a palliative care vet at Dignipets I provide home visits to implement individualised care plans for pets in need. One of my favourite palliative care patients at the moment is Tricia.

When I visited Tricia a couple of months ago for her first at home palliative care consultation she was a pretty poorly dog. She had been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis as well as IBS, and was having frequent episodes of excruciating pain. Because of her conditions she ended up with low vitamin levels and was generally feeling lethargic and unwell.

Tricia was referred to me by her primary care vet as they felt Tricia would respond better to treatment at home. Both Tricia her conditions come with a considerable amount of discomfort and pain. Assessing pain is a lot easier in a pet’s home environment as pets often mask their pain when elsewhere. Seeing her at home made a huge difference in assessing and treating her pain.

Tricia is now receiving medication to treat her pain and her IBS, as well as a special diet and vitamins. I have also provided Tricia her owner with a crisis kit, this means she can give Tricia extra strong pain relief in case of crisis while she is waiting for one of our vets to drive to her.

With help from our district nurse and her wonderful owner we managed to get her back to the Tricia she was. She has responded incredibly well, and it’s amazing to see what a bundle of energy she is now- who would have thought she’s a senior!

Maja Redfern

Maja is clinical director at Dignipets. A mobile veterinary practice that offers palliative and end of life care for every pet in need in the West Midlands. Having completed a certification programme in hospice and palliative care in 2017 Maja advises colleagues and referring practices on pain management for their most difficult geriatric cases. She is a dedicated pet owner (two dogs and three cats) and has developed a reputation amongst wanderers and strays for being the go-to person when lost.