Palliative Care and Hospice Care

Our Background on Palliative & Hospice Care

Dr. Shearer has been providing palliative and hospice care services for over 22 years. She recognized early-on the need for these services because requests to make house calls for euthanasia and from her personal experiences with her own pets. Her forward thinking has prompted national and international exposure through her lecturing and feature articles like the 2004 article in the Washington Post. She also has authored chapters on hospice care in veterinary textbooks and lectured at the First International Veterinary Hospice Symposium. She is the creator of the 5 Step Hospice Care Plan for pets.

Palliative and pet hospice services have recently become more popular because of advancements in veterinary medicine allows for better end of life care. The ability to manage pain and the side effects of disease is better than ever before.


Rick with his kitty Shadow
This photo was taken about 1 year after having brain surgery for a meningioma tumor. Shadow was in a long-term palliative care program that helped make sure that her remaining life would be comfortable.

Take Shadow for Example

Shadow’s family choose a care plan for her that would minimize her stress and that most of her care would be done on an outpatient basis to prevent stays in the hospital.

Like a lot of cats, Shadow did not like taking medication so we always had to consider that when treating her.

Palliative care is defined as providing comfort by treating the side effects of a disease.

Pet hospice offers quality end of life care for pets that are terminally, chronically ill, or mobility challenged. As part of the hospice philosophy, emotional support is provided to help pet owners cope with an upcoming loss and to provide help after the pet passes away.

Qualifications/Circumstances that Warrant Palliative or Hospice Care

  • A decision not to pursue curative treatments
  • Diagnosis of a terminal illness.
  • Diagnosis of a chronic illness.
  • Symptoms of a chronic illness are interfering with the routine of the pet.
  • Disease process where curative treatment was possible but failed.
  • Problems that require long-term intensive care.
  • Illnesses that are progressive in their disease trajectory.
  • Diseases or traumas that have health complications associated with them.

Dr. Shearer is available to help design a personalized plan to help insure that a pet is kept comfortable.

You can make your appointment directly with Dr. Shearer or she can facilitate referral from your vet by contacting them on behalf of your pet.

She accepts referrals from all veterinarians with patients in need of rehabilitation, palliative, or pet hospice care.