Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.

Quality of Life

There is a subject that has been on my mind a lot lately. No one likes to talk about it but eventually, the time will come in a pet’s life when we must make that impossible decision. I have a 12-year-old Labrador mix named Sula. I adopted her about ten years ago, and in that time, she has been a trial and a blessing and has taught me so much. She has kidney disease, bad knees, the usual muscle wasting in the back end, her sight is not what it used to be, and while her hearing may be going, I’m not convinced she isn’t being just a stubborn old goat most of the time. She is still pretty ecstatic about life so I know I don’t have to make that decision yet but the question is always there. When is it time to say goodbye?

The Ohio State University has a Quality of Life Scale that outlines a pet’s general wellbeing and has you rate them on a scale of 1-5 for each component. These include: does not want to play, is sleeping more than usual, seems dull and depressed, is trembling or shaking, is not eating well, is losing weight, is not urinating well, is not moving normally etc. Out of curiosity, I filled it out to see where Sula fit on the scale. She hit at about a 4. 5 being the best and 1 being the worst. I breathed a sigh of relief as it seems my visual observations were not far off. Working in this industry we see people hold on too long all the time and while I try to be objective, it seems the older she gets the tighter I hold.

So, what are some things to do when you are unsure about your pets’ quality of life? Talk to your vet. They cannot make the decision for you, no one can, but they see it all the time and know the process and can help you recognize the signs. Look at pictures and videos of your pet in their younger years or before an illness. There will be apparent changes but look for more subtle ones that you may not notice every day. I looked at pictures of Sula even three years ago, and the difference is quite significant. Mark the good and bad days on a calendar. Sometimes it is easier to see if we document it and it is right in front of us. When the bad outweighs the good, it may be time to consider euthanasia.

Thankfully we are still having many more good days than bad, but I know the day will come when she doesn’t go berserk when I pick up the leash or look like she just landed in heaven when she runs into the lake. Someday I’ll have to say goodbye to the one who kept me warm on cold nights in my first apartment and shared my McNuggets on weekend road trips. For now, I treasure the days I have left to watch her goofy face as she runs into the water or hears the grunts or pure contentment when someone rubs her ears.

Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole. – Roger Caras

Written By: Meredith Maffet

Category:

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COVID-19: Additional measures we are taking

Dear Clients,

Due to the close contact that our work requires, we have taken additional measures to protect you and our team while providing care for your furry family members.

The following changes are effective as of Monday, March 23, 2020:

1. We are currently operating a "closed waiting room" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain in your vehicle and use your cell phone to call us at 902.461.0951. We will take a history of your pet over the phone, and bring your pet into the clinic for an examination with the veterinarian. Once the examination is finished, we will call to discuss our recommended treatment plan over the phone and then return to your vehicle with your pet. Please ensure your pet has a properly fitted collar or is in a secure carrier. Please remove any additional clothing or blankets prior to our staff handling our patients to minimize risk to our team.

2. We are still OPEN but are now working in two shifts with reduced hours, reduced staff numbers and a need to close for extensive cleaning between shifts. Tuesday to Friday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

3. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 2-4 business days as our suppliers are dealing with increased demand and are trying to fill orders as quickly as possible. We will advise you as soon as your order arrives. Please call us when you arrive to pick up your order, but do not enter the hospital. Our staff will bring your order to your car and take payment over the phone. You can also use our online store and have your food delivered directly to your home. To sign up for the online store, visit our website.

4. For the time being, we are not accepting cash as payment. Credit cards and debit card payments are still available.

Online consultations are now available! If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

Following the recommendations of our government and medical experts, we are doing our best to practice social distancing within the constraints of our roles. As such, we have taken measures to avoid both contracting and facilitating the spread of this virus. You may see our team members wearing additional protective gear when interacting with our clients and patients.

Thank you for helping us be diligent for everyone's safety. As we have heard from all levels of government, the situation is fluid and any updates will be provided as changes occur.

- Your dedicated team at Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives Inc.