SUNSET Home Veterinary Care director, Dr Jackie Campbell left not a dry eye in the house at TEDx South Bank last weekend when she shared her experiences in the latest global trend in veterinary care - providing palliative support and euthanasia for pets in their own homes.
With more than 63% of Australian homes owning a pet and an estimated $8 billion spent every year in caring for these very important family members, it is no wonder that Dr Campbell's services are in high demand with her practice helping over 100 patients in the past six months.
"We understand the deep bond people develop with their best friend and that as these animals get older it can be incredibly challenging making the best decision in regard to medication and end-of-life choices," explains Dr Campbell.
"Whilst hospice care for our beloved family pets has been accepted around the world for years, Australia is only just understanding the importance of in-home palliative care and how this impacts on a pet's quality of life in those final days, weeks or even months."
"Knowing they can be out of pain and reach the end of their lives with dignity and surrounded by those who love them is very important to most pet owners."
One of only a handful of specialised veterinary hospice services operating in Australia, Sunset Home Veterinary Care has recognised the need to offer in-home medical support and euthanasia for pets that are elderly, diagnosed with cancer, suffering with osteoarthritis and neurological conditions or progressive issues such as organ failure and dementia.
Sunset Home Veterinary Care client, Eve Massingham said she couldn't have been happier with the service when her much-loved Labrador Cleopatra needed help in the last few months after leading an active life for over 14 years.
"It was so wonderful to have the home care option available to us as we watched our beloved Labrador Cleopatra getting older," said Mrs Massingham.
"She was getting very stiff and you could see she was uncomfortable a lot of the time. Our regular veterinarian had prescribed anti-inflammatories which helped a bit but Dr Jackie was able to review her medications and offer more options including massage and acupuncture."
"Then when it was time to say goodbye, Dr Jackie helped us make that decision. She was very supportive and professional and took the time to make sure that everyone was ready. It was reassuring to know someone was looking out for Cleo's comfort during those last few months."
Dr Campbell has been working in the field of pain management, osteoarthritis, rehabilitation and canine massage for over nine years and has been overwhelmed by the need to develop this specialised level of care.
"We have certainly seen the increasing need for in-home palliative services and have expanded the practice from the Sunshine Coast to the greater South East Queensland area including Brisbane."
"Palliative care is a rapidly emerging field in veterinary medicine and I am confident we will continue to expand as we help families not only to navigate the challenges of end-of-life decision making but also to help them celebrate this important family member's life."
For more information about becoming a Sunset Home Veterinary Care vet or to enquire about services please visit http://www.sunsetvets.com.au/