End of Life Care

Care For Your Pet at The End of It’s Life With Volunteer Veterinary Hospital It’s difficult to think about, let alone plan for. We are referring, of course, to the final chapter of your pet’s life. No matter if your pet is a senior or in the puppy or kitten stage, you as an owner will at some point deal with the reality of saying goodbye. At Volunteer Veterinary Hospital, we are here to help you through the entire process.

Older or Dying Pets in Knoxville

Every pet and every owner will have a different set of circumstances, so handling each situation individually is not only practical, but also it is compassionate.

The individualized treatment of older or dying pets starts with our veterinarians and their commitment to educating pet owners. We spend time with our owners, discussing each pet’s symptoms or disease. We talk about what options are and aren’t available, as well as what’s best for the pet. Regardless of the decision that needs to be made, rest assured you will not have to make it alone.


From the Greek language, euthanasia or "good death," is the act of compassionately and humanely putting an animal down, or allowing it to die by withholding procedures. The reason for euthanasia usually involves an incurable and very painful disease.

When an animal’s suffering outweighs its chances to return to a normal way of life, euthanasia becomes an option for the owner. If an owner decides to euthanize his or her pet, specific details are then discussed with the veterinarian.

Most pets are sedated prior to being euthanized. The pets are then euthanized by an injection of barbiturates, which first render the pet unconscious, so it feels no pain or distress. Once unconscious, respiratory and cardiac arrest will quickly follow. Within seconds, the pet passes on.

If desired, we will always allow pet owners to be present. This gives the owners the opportunity to be alongside their companion, allowing them one last chance to say goodbye.

After Your Pet Passes

There are three options available to an owner who has just lost his or her pet:

  • Home burial—The desire for some owners is to bury their pet either at home or at a site of their choice. At Volunteer Veterinary Hospital, we support this decision with compassion and understanding.
  • Cremation—The choice for many owners is individualized cremation. In this case, the pet is cremated individually and the ashes are returned to the owner.
  • Burial—With this choice, a pet is cremated along with other pets, and the ashes are buried collectively.

Regardless of your decision for burial, we are here to help you through the process. At Volunteer Veterinary Hospital, we are not just veterinary professionals—we are fellow pet owners who understand how it feels to lose a pet. It is for this reason we have dedicated several pages of our website to those who have lost a pet.

  • Pet loss library—A collection of reading material pertaining to pet loss
  • Pet memorials—A collection of memorials written by owners who have lost pets
  • Pet memorial wall—A page dedicated to pictures of our clients’ deceased pets
  • Light a candle—A page that allows you to memorialize your deceased pet by lighting a candle in his or her name

For more information about our pet end-of-life care, we invite you to contact us today.


"Volunteer Veterinary Hospital has been caring for our pets for many years and will continue to do so for many more due to the skill and dedication of the professionals who lead the organization."
— Joe & Helen Bruner

"All my pets have been patients at Volunteer Veterinary for at least the last 20 years. The entire staff has always gone above and beyond to make sure my dogs have been properly taken care of. I wouldn’t think of going anywhere else."
— Phylis Flenniken

"I want to thank you and your entire staff for all that you do for my dogs. I’ll never forget when we lost our precious Sapphire years ago; and the way you allowed me to come daily and spend time with her. Your compassion and kindness was so comforting to us during our time of loss."
— Sherry Meacham & Roscoe

"Let me say that I feel honored to reference in behalf of my experience with Volunteer Vet Hospital. I admire Dr Bihl and his staff, they are very kind and considerate. I enjoyed my visits and knew they were compassionate and caring people."
— Susan Oglietti