Veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Westbrook began her practice, Loving Paws House Calls, in 2009 to provide pet owners with end-of-life pet care in the comfort of their own home environment instead of in a clinical office setting. Over time, Dr. Westbrook realized she was also receiving numerous inquiries from clients wondering how to manage their pet’s health when it was obvious they were declining, and also wanting to know when it was the appropriate time to end the life of a cherished pet who may be suffering due to age, illness or injury. It was these impassioned inquiries that inspired Dr. Westbrook to recently expand her veterinary practice to include in-home pet hospice care, in addition to the end-of-life pet care services she was already performing.
In-home pet hospice care is very similar to human pet hospice care, with the primary difference being that the pet cannot verbally communicate how they are feeling. This often produces anxiety for pet owners who want to extend the lives of their pets, but do not want to do so if that means their pets will suffer. With their in-home pet hospice care, Loving Paws House Calls teaches pet owners to read the subtle cues that their pet is giving about how they are feeling, and gives them instructions on what can be done to help them. “Pet hospice care is about providing the best quality of life for a pet as they age,” says Dr. Westbrook. “The wonderful thing about our practice is that because we do come to the pet’s home, we alleviate a lot of the stress a pet—and their owner—feels about a typical vet visit. The pet is more relaxed because they are in their home environment, and consequently we can more easily see subtle behavior cues that tell us how they are feeling. Because we are in the pet’s home it is easier for us to recommend minor environment changes that can improve a pet’s comfort, like slightly raising or lowering food and water bowls, or adding a short step to help a pet reach their favorite chair. For pet owners who have large dogs with mobility issues, it is nearly impossible for them to load their dog in a vehicle to go to a vet by themselves. Fortunately, with our in-home pet hospice care, now they don’t have to.”
Loving Paws House Call’s in-home pet hospice services include an evaluation of a pet’s current medications, and adjusting or adding medications to improve the pet’s quality of life. They also offer medication alternatives for pets that are especially difficult to medicate. Injectable medications can also be provided at appointments when needed, to facilitate immediate relief for pets who may have to wait a short amount of time to receive newly prescribed oral medications. Bloodwork can be performed at visits, if necessary, and the veterinarian can provide information on what to expect based on the pet’s age and illness. Dr. Westbrook says that in-home pet hospice care is a valuable tool for all kinds of pet illnesses. “I have seen pet hospice patients with arthritis, chronic pain issues, degenerative nerve disease, different cancers, and organ failures,” says Dr. Westbrook. “Pets suffer from a lot of the same illnesses their human owners do, and they also can benefit greatly from in-home pet hospice care. Loving Paws House Calls is honored to be able to provide such a crucial service for so many households who love their pets like family.”
Loving Paws House Calls provides in-home end-of-life and hospice care services for pets in Dallas, Plano, Frisco, Farmers Branch, Allen, Rockwall, Southlake and surrounding areas. By providing veterinary services in an in-home setting, Loving Paws House Calls eliminates the often stressful visits to a clinical office setting, and allows the pet and their family to receive care in the privacy of their own home. To learn more about Loving Paws House Calls, visit http://www.lovingpawshousecalls.com.