It’s a topic many of us don’t like to think about, but eventually we all face-end-of life issues. When it comes to our animal companions it can be particularly difficult to navigate our emotions and our responsibility to do what’s best for them.
Age, disability or disease do not necessarily prevent living a satisfying and joyful life. It is only when the quality of life is significantly compromised, when there is suffering or when the joy has gone out of life – then end-of-life questions should be examined.
The Three A’s are the most important:
1. Appetite: does my rabbit still find enjoyment in eating?
2. Affection: does my rabbit still exchange affection with me or with other companions?
3. Attitude: is my rabbit still interested? Does she like to watch, sniff, and listen to the things going on around her? Mental attitude is important.
If the answers to these questions are positive on more days than not, there is quality of life and continued supportive care is recommended. Keep re-evaluating the three A’s regularly to assess how things are going. Address the whole rabbit, not just the disease or symptoms.
As you move through the end-of-life process, here are some other questions to reflect on and address:
• Is my strategy fair?
• Is my strategy kind?
• Is my rabbit comfortable?
• Can we effectively manage pain?
• Are there side effects from medication and can those side effects be managed?
• Has my rabbit given up? Is it only momentary or is she just ready to go?
by Amy Ramnaraine
Quality of Life from HRS
Quality of Life from Disabled Rabbits
Elderbuns from HRS
Palliative Care seminar by Carolynn Harvey, DVM