End of Life Care

Saying goodbye is never easy. For elderly, terminal, or seriously injured pets, recovery isn’t always possible. Though it may be painful to think about, sometimes, the best thing we can do for our beloved pets is to help them pass with dignity and comfort. While this service is difficult for us to offer, it is also one of the most important and necessary. The most important thing you can do for your elderly pet is to minimize any pain or distress he or she may be experiencing, and in some cases, that requires end-of-life care.



What is End of Life Care?

You make every effort to keep your cats and dogs happy and healthy for as long as possible, but some illnesses simply aren’t possible to treat. While veterinary medicine is constantly advancing, sometimes the best you can do is rely on our counsel and knowledge of pet palliative care. This is what end-of-life care is all about – giving you the best options and processes for your pet entering its last stages of life.

We know how scary and painful medical issues are for pet owners, and end-of-life care can be far more challenging to deal with. Our pets often know our emotions better than we do. Taking action to help them with their final days can help you take the stress and worry off of your shoulders, helping both of you approach their departure more comfortably. Don’t take on everything by yourself; trust our staff to take the best possible care of you and your beloved pet.

What to Expect During End-of-Life Care

Every pet is a little different, but every end-of-life appointment begins with a complete physical examination. Our veterinarians will give you a complete image of your cat or dog’s condition and symptoms and discuss how they will progress. Then, we will provide our opinions and thoughts on palliative care, hospice care, and euthanasia. You will receive our full support no matter how you choose to approach the last stages of your pet’s life.

We understand that grieving is deeply personal, and you might have difficulty approaching this discussion. However, having more knowledge about the process and understanding how we can help can make the decision process far easier for you. Having these difficult discussions on behalf of your pet is one of the greatest kindnesses you can do for them.

Palliative Care for Pets

Palliative care for cats and dogs is a longer-term approach to treating a terminal pet. When an illness is no longer treatable or your pet has reached the end of their lifespan, we want to help them enjoy their final days to the fullest extent possible. This care takes the form of pain management, symptom relief, and comfort care for your elderly or ailing pet.

When curing illness is no longer the priority of treatment, enhancing and continuing your pet’s quality of life becomes the new priority. Keeping them happy, comfortable, and by your side. We will help you continue to build happy memories with your loved ones throughout the end-of-life process. 

Hospice Care for Pets

Here at Catoctin Vet, we provide hospice care as an option if your pet is suffering from a terminal illness and a cure is not possible. The goal is to make your pet’s final days or weeks more pleasant with the proper use of pain medications, dietary strategies and human interaction. Hospice care for pets is just like hospice for humans and can include:

  • Learning more about the disease in question
  • Managing symptoms and issues that arise
  • Recognizing and treating pain
  • Supplementing nutrition
  • Managing incontinence
  • Recommending home and environment changes
  • Supporting mobility

You will have to make the choice to enter your pet into hospice care, as we cannot decide that for you. However, no matter your choice, we will respect and help you with your decisions regarding your pet’s health. Our first priority is ensuring you know everything about your options when dealing with end-of-life care for your pet.


statue and flowers
When you and your family decide that euthanasia is the best option, we will be here for you and your pet during this difficult time. Every pet’s situation is different, so we work hard to ensure you understand your pet’s illness and issues. When your pet nears the end, it is important to consider your pet’s whole quality of life before making your decision.

Sometimes hospice care can only provide so much comfort to your ailing loved one. Euthanasia provides a painless, peaceful end for a pet. This period is the most difficult time in your pet’s life, and being there for them throughout every step of the process is both kindness to them and closure for you.

Losing a pet can be a very difficult process and we’re here to help any way we can. Please call us for more information about our end of life pet care.


Monday – Thursday: 7:30am – 7:30pm
Friday: 7:30am – 6pm
Saturday: 8:30am – 2pm

Catoctin Veterinary Clinic
112 Dry Mill Road SW
Leesburg, VA 20175
Phone: 703-777-8447