End of Life Care

A Letter from Dr. Ball

A special goodbye to our pet friends.

In-home euthanasia is very special to me. As a vet for six years and a life-long pet lover, I know the heartache involved in this difficult decision. In a traditional clinic setting, I often feel rushed and unable to support my owners through such an emotional time and unable to have the time to listen. If there is a way to make such a hard thing better, I want to be a part of it.

It starts with a phone call. We will discuss your concerns, and I will recommend a quality of life scale to help determine when it is time. I may recommend additional testing at a traditional clinic if I feel there is a condition we can manage. It is not uncommon for your pet to have good days and bad days; it can feel like a roller coaster. But, when they are unable to do the things they love (such as jump into a favorite window, enjoy a walk around the block, eat a favorite meal or treat) then it may be time to make a decision. The saying in veterinary hospice is that it is better to let them go a day too soon than an hour too late.

I love to hear the stories about the pet. Stories that I never had the time to hear when I worked in a hospital or ER clinic as I was often rushing from one room to the next. I love the stories, the funny quirks, the pet’s favorite things to do and the  memories that my owner and pet have shared. Pets make such a huge impact in our life and I believe that euthanasia is a gift. Saying good-bye in the comfort of the pet’s home is very personal and satisfying to me. The pets are so often more comfortable and less stressed. As vets that make house calls for euthanasia, we can let them go in a favorite room, or even outside under a favorite tree. My owners have more time to grieve in the privacy of their own home, more time for us to share stories and memories, and even allow other pets to say good-bye, which may help them understand where a beloved friend has gone.

My assistant JoEllen and I are life-long pet lovers, and we work very hard to ensure a gentle, peaceful goodbye. It is an honor to be invited into someone’s home and be a part of the gentle end. I am humbled by the impact that the pet has on the family. Each story is special and each pet is unique. The human/animal bond is very powerful, and I love the time I have with the family and the stories that owners share. It is an honor to do this work, and I want to thank each person who has invited us into their home and into their story to say good-bye gently.

Quality of Life Scale

Saying good-bye to our pets is one of the hardest parts about owning an animal. Pets become family and they can not tell us when they are hurting or sick. There are also many good days and bad days and often this can be a normal part of aging. My favorite resources are the quality of life scales as seen below. Often these steps need to be repeated over several days or even weeks.

Score pets using a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best.

Scale
Criterion
1-10
HURT - Adequate pain control, including breathing ability, is first an foremost on the scale. Is the pet's pain successfully managed? Is oxygen necessary?
1-10
HUNGER- Is the pet eating enough? Does hand feeding help? Does the pet require a feeding tube?
1-10
HYDRATION - Is the pet dehydrated? For pets not drinking enough, use subcutaneous fluids once or twice daily to supplement fluid intake.
1-10
HYGIENE - The pet should be brushed and cleaned, particularly after elimination. Avoid pressure sores and keep all wounds clean.
1-10
HAPPINESS - Does the pet express joy and interest? is the pet responsive to things around him or her (family, toys, etc.)?  Is the pet depressed, lonely, anxious, bored or afraid? can the pet's bed be close to the family activities and not be isolated?
1-10
MOBILITY - Can the patient get up without assistance?  Does the pet need human or mechanical help (e.g., a cart)? Does the pet feel like going for a walk? Is the pet having seizures or stumbling?
1-10
MORE BAD DAYS THAN GOOD- When bad days outnumber good, quality of life might be compromised.  When a healthy human-animal bond is no longer possible, the caregiver must be made aware the end is near. The decision needs to be made if the pet is suffering. If death comes peacefully and painlessly, that is okay.
1-10
MORE GOOD DAYS THAN BAD - Adequate pain control, including breathing ability, is first an foremost on the scale. Is the pet's pain successfully managed? Is oxygen necessary?
Total
A total over 35 points represents acceptable life quality.

​Say Goodbye In Comfort With Vets That Make House Calls For Euthanasia

We are happy to have a phone consult then a house call visit to discuss all your concerns. It is important that the vet and the family work together to make a decision that can bring peace.

We offer in home euthanasia and consults to reduce stress for pets and family. Dr. Ball is a very compassionate animal lover who understands how hard these times can be. We will explain the process and do everything we can to reduce the stress for your pet and family. We offer gentle in home euthanasia and can make arrangements for cremation services.

Hours: M-F 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Euthanasia services can be extended 5-7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday based on our availability. This appointment must be scheduled by 4:00 p.m. so we can plan accordingly, and we require advance payment prior to services.

We refer to your nearest vet if these services are needed outside our window. Please see our emergency page for more info after hours.

Pricing

Consult and in home euthanasia $250 (within 15 miles of LR) *Additional charges for increased travel time. Includes sedation (if appropriate), IV cath, gentle euthanasia.

Cremation

For the convenience of our owners we are proud to partner with Arkansas Pet Cremations for this service. We can take your pet and will contact this service for pick up. They will deliver an urn to your home a few days later (if you are within 20 miles of our service area, otherwise we can arrange a drop off at the vet in our area of your choice).

We also offer a Clay Paw Print for an additional $50 service charge that will be available to you at the time of service.

Cremation Pricing

We offer Private, Semiprivate, and General and the charges are based on your pet's weight.

Private - (Pet is cremated alone and returned in engraved oak urn):

  • 1-25 pounds $250
  • 26-100 pounds $290
  • Over 100 pounds- $330

Semi-private - (Pet is cremated with separation from other pets and returned in an urn):

  • 1-100 pounds $150
  • Over 100 pounds $200
  • General cremation - (No ashes returned)
  • 1-99 pounds $44
  • 100 pounds or over $70

General cremation - (No ashes returned)

  • 1-99 pounds $44
  • 100 pounds or over $70

Pet Loss Support

We understand that pets become part of the family, and their loss can be very hard for many. We recommend the following resources to aid in processing your grief:

Georgann Freasier, licensed clinical social worker and therapy dog volunteer
Available for in-person counseling. She does not file insurance but you can file yourself.
gfreasier2@gmail.com,
501-590-2042

Animal Health Foundation grief support

Pet Loss support Hotline Tufts University
508-839-7966

Rainbow Bridge Pet Loss support community

Phone Number

501-916-2246

Hours of Operation

M,T,TH,F 7:30am-6pm
Office Closed Wednesday for House Call Appointments.
Euthanasia appointments must be scheduled by 4pm.
End of life services provided on the weekends when possible.