Friday, July 30, 2021

Updates on palliative end of life care and companion animals, companion animal euthanasia and Companion Animal Rescue Awards


One silver lining of the global pandemic has been the widespread availability of accessible continuing professional development. If you’re in hard lockdown, as we are here at SAT HQ, it’s a good time to update or upskill. 

And you don’t need to organise someone to dog, cat, bird or other-species sit while you travel to a conference. While I’ve been learning, Hero has been fast asleep on my desk, dreaming away while I listen (most recently to the ANZCVS online Science Week series).

Another silver lining of the pandemic is that people who cohabit with senior animals who find themselves in hard lockdown are able to ensure their comfort 24. However, animals who are very old or at the approaching the end of their lifespan may suffer declines in quality of life, due to various conditions and afflictions. Some of these can be managed to improve quality of life.

In just over a week on Saturday August 7 I will be taking part in the Australian Veterinary Palliative Care Virtual Education Event, a four-hour conference which will cover a range of topics including:

  • Symptom burden and prognosis: lessons learned from the human healthcare model (Jackie Campbell)
  • Is a natural death better for companion animals (than a veterinary assisted death) (myself)
  • Night walking in geriatric dogs (Heather Chee)
  • Lumbosacral disease in dogs: a physiotherapists approach (Brooke Williams)
  • Management of chronic nausea and vomiting (Gemma Birnie)
  • Preparing clients for loss: conversations and resources every practice should have (Rosie Overfield)

For more information or to register, visit or email

As always, discussions of end of life care can be upsetting, and do raise deep philosophical questions. I’ve just written this reflection on ethically indicated euthanasia in companion animal practice. You can access it here:  

Finally, if you have not already entered the Pet Insurance Australia Companion Animal Rescue Awards, now is the time to do so as entries close on July 31.

Categories include Volunteer of the Year, Foster Carer Story and People’s Rescue Story. To find out how to enter, visit:

I have supported these awards every year since they began as a volunteer judge because they acknowledge and promote the incredible, innovative, compassionate and very hard work of those committed to finding companion animals suitable, safe homes.

If you are going to enter, don’t leave it to the last minute – the entries do take a bit of time, and the judging is rigorous.

Stay safe.