Baton Rouge, LA — Pet owners are increasingly choosing not to take their old or sick animals to the veterinarian. Instead, they let the vet come to them.
Dr. Carly Billeaudeau saw a problem with the current model of care when she worked in a traditional clinic.
"Their pets were too sick to get to the hospital, or they were ready to say goodbye and they wanted to do it in the pet's bed," she stated, "and that wasn't something we were able to offer in private practice."
A few weeks ago, she became the only veterinarian in the Baton Rouge area to represent Lap of Love, one of the leading national pet hospice care provider networks. Hospice care is a popular option for people needing end of life care, but has only become common for pets in the last few years.
"As our pets have moved from the bank yard into our homes, they've become more family members instead of just animals," Billeaudeau noted.
While some veterinarians provide home visits, hospice care is designed for animals in their final days.
"A lot of the treatment plans have been exhausted by that point," Billeaudeau said, "so hospice care is, it's more of a family-centered care for the pet that is all about quality of life, and being as comfortable as possible for as long as you can."
Billeaudeau said, outside of euthanasia, the price for hospice care is about the same as for care in a clinical setting. The treatment she offers is generally simple, but important.
"It's not that the care is much different, it's just that they are able to be in their most comfortable place," she stated.
The death of a pet can be a traumatic experience. The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine has a program called Best Friend Gone, which provides counseling for adults and children. To reach a counselor, call (225) 578-9547, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.