May 13th, 2020 by Laurie Brush
In the era of COVID19 social distancing and stay at home orders, many pet parents have had the added stress of managing disease in their aging pets.
The crisis has ushered in a new era of veterinary consultation via telemedicine. This area of service has experienced exponential growth among routine care veterinarians as well as specialists. However, there are a few important things to consider when using veterinary telemedicine. Learn more in our blog post. Read the rest of this entry »
April 17th, 2020 by Laurie Brush
Half the black-legged deer ticks you and your pet encounter on a Sunday stroll are carriers of a disease that can be deadly. The Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium is zoonotic, meaning it can infect both humans and man’s best friend with Lyme Disease.
For your fur friend, if left untreated, canine Lyme disease can damage the heart, nervous system, and kidneys. Chronically infected dogs may develop a life-threatening form of kidney inflammation and dysfunction. Long-term, Lyme can lead to arthritic-like joint stiffness and lameness. Read the rest of this entry »
April 1st, 2020 by Laurie Brush
UPDATE: Hospice and Quality of Life Assessments NOW AVAILABLE BY VIDEO
- Our doctors are not currently visiting homes for hospice consultations, but we are now offering telemedicine visits with our doctors as an alternative. Call (616) 498-1316 to schedule your appointment. You may also, using your mobile phone, DOWNLOAD THE MEDICI APP here (opens in a new window.)
- Once you’ve registered on the APP, please enter THIS code to connect to Dr. Amy Hoss and the Heaven at Home Team: EWEKZRVSAS
UPDATE: Heaven at Home’s COVID-19 Protocols for Home Euthanasia Visits:
In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we have made some changes to our protocols to protect our clients as well as our doctors and staff, so that we can continue to help pets pass peacefully and comfortably at home. We are following CDC, IAAHCP, and AVMA guidelines.
- Our doctors will continue to help families say goodbye at home, either outdoors or in a garage or similar light traffic enclosure that can accommodate the 6-foot distance recommendation. We are attempting to avoid indoor exposure for the safety of our staff and your household.
- Only immediate family, up to 2 people, can attend the appointment but no children under 10 years old may be present. All other family members or friends may attend via Skype, FaceTime, or other technology.
- We ask all that will be present to please wash their hands just before the doctor arrives.
- Our doctor will maintain a 6-foot distance from you and your family at all times, both for your protection and for hers. You will be asked to step away from your pet while she gives the initial sedative injection, then you may return as they drift off to sleep. You will be asked to step away again while she places an IV catheter and gives the second injection, then you may return as they pass peacefully.
- When scheduling, please inform our staff if you or anyone in the home, is sick, experiencing symptoms, or have been exposed to the virus or other illness.
- We are taking payment over the phone by credit card when you call to schedule. Please let us know if this is not an option for you.
- Our doctors will go over the consent form with you when they arrive and ask for your verbal consent to proceed, as well as confirm your aftercare wishes for your pet.
- We are only able to accept favorite blankets or toys to accompany the pet to cremation if your pet is contained in a body care bag, which is available for purchase. Please ask for more information when scheduling.
- Our doctors will follow disinfectant protocols for themselves and their equipment, including disinfecting their supplies and stretchers, after each appointment. They will, as always, use fresh blankets for each pet.
- Unfortunately, our doctors will be unable to offer hugs of comfort to our clients during their visit. Please know that this is actually one of the hardest adjustments for our doctors, as they desperately want to comfort you during this heart-wrenching time.
March 31st, 2020 by Laurie Brush
Are you confused by reports that grain-free and exotic dog food ingredients may be causing an increased number of dogs to die prematurely of “DCM” (dilated cardiomyopathy)? The stakes are high in the $30 billion petfood market where boutique producers are pitted against mounting evidence from the FDA. It’s hard for pet parents to cut through the spin to get the facts.
To make matters worse, nutritional DCM is one of those rare diseases where we have “the cure” before we conclusively know the precise cause, though high proportions of legumes in grain free foods are suspect. Read the rest of this entry »
March 9th, 2020 by Laurie Brush
Pet parents are faced with tough choices when spring wanderlust strikes. Senior dogs and cats truly require more monitoring with advanced age.
“Many of the concerns of old age such as joint pain, incontinence or a change in behavior/temperament can make a boarding experience more trying,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice.
“Sometimes the stress of boarding can cause medical conditions to worsen. But good communication with the caregivers and advanced planning can help keep your pet comfortable,” she said.
In addition to providing documentation of medications, veterinary info, condition details, routines and feeding habits, you will also want to supply an advanced directive that spells out what kind of emergency procedures you authorize in your absence. Ensuring the provision of extra blankets, incontinence products, walking mats and heated bedding will help keep your pet comfortable. Read the rest of this entry »
January 31st, 2020 by Laurie Brush
February is heart health month!
Make sure you give Fido a lovely Valentine this month; he or she may be giving your heart a healthy boost. A growing body of evidence suggests that having a dog may help with heart health by lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels and even reducing mortality after cardiac events.
One study published recently reviewed patient data from more than 3.8 million people in 10 separate studies. Compared to non-owners, dog owners had a 24% reduced risk of dying from any cause; a 31% reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular-related issues; and a 65% reduced risk dying after a heart attack, according to the reports published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Read the rest of this entry »
January 26th, 2020 by Laurie Brush
Like their human counterparts, companion animals share an increased death rate during the holidays. Many pet parents face the winter months in mourning.
Pet loss grief can be complicated by a lack of social support, misplaced guilt, and degrees of bonding that might surpass many of our human-to-human relationships. Yet pet loss grief is often “disenfranchised grief” – grief that cannot be easily publicly mourned. Read the rest of this entry »
November 27th, 2019 by Laurie Brush
During the holiday rush, owner distraction and plummeting temps can leave your fur-friend feeling bored. And boredom can spell trouble. If you don’t want your pup to redecorate the house, or your senior pet to withdraw, consider pet enrichment tips to make your fur-friend’s season “merry and bright.”
What Is Canine Enrichment?
With an increasing population of senior pets, research has focused on ways to stave off cognitive decline through play and engagement. Evidence now suggests that mentally-engaging activities help reduce the clinical incidence of canine cognitive dysfunction. Read the rest of this entry »
October 28th, 2019 by Laurie Brush
Making the decision to euthanize a pet is the hardest thing a pet parent has to do. However, deferring or avoiding the decision can allow a degree of suffering that no one would deliberately wish on their loyal companion. Natural death is rarely humane. But how do you know when the kindest act you can offer is to plan to say goodbye? How do you know when your beloved companion is ready to cross the “Rainbow Bridge”?
Some people have a difficult time with the thought of euthanasia. They might feel like they’re “playing God,” and feel besieged by guilt. It’s important to remember that the illness, disease, or injury is causing the end of life, not you. Read the rest of this entry »
October 24th, 2019 by Laurie Brush
Nine years ago, a mere 30 veterinarians gathered to discuss ways to help bring comfort to aging pets and help pet parents know when it’s time to say goodbye. That was the dawning of the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC). Earlier this month, ten times that number gathered in Chicago to learn about trends in the emerging field.
“Research shows that more and more Americans are opting for pet hospice,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice and early graduate of the IAAHPC’s new certification program. Read the rest of this entry »