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Palliative medicine
Hospice and palliative care
  1. Jo Lewis
  1. The Cat Vet, 49 Calcott Park, Yateley, Hampshire GU46 6JJ, e-mail:

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I AM sitting at home with my near 19-year-old cat who I suspect is NLFTW (not long for this world). She has had the benefits of years of quality of life despite her multiple ‘old cat’ ailments thanks to palliative care. As a sun-worshipper she is currently basking in the garden with the recent spell of sunshine we've had, at her end of life or ‘comfort care’ phase.

I was uplifted to see Dr Goldberg's recent article, ‘Veterinary hospice and palliative care: a comprehensive review of the literature’ (VR, April 9, 2016, vol 178, pp 369-374), in contrast with the negative responses it has received so far in the letters from Professor and Mrs David Noakes (VR, April 23, 2016, vol 178, p 426) and Paul Flecknell and others (VR, May 7, 2016 vol 178, p 476).

If I am honest, I dislike the use of the word ‘hospice’ as I think it creates confusion through its human association. It is a common misconception that ‘hospice’ is purely a location for care, but it also defines a philosophy of care. In a veterinary context, the hospice movement does not equate to putting all animals through the stereotyped human images that the terminology conjures up, such as sedation-assisted natural death and admission of animals into a physical hospice setting.

Essentially, for animals, hospice means …

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