DogTo recently caught up with Dr. Faith Banks, who has a fairly unique Palliative Care practice for pets. We spoke about what she is doing, her range of services and why its important.
Dr. Banks: I know the look and what it means. “Is this all you do???” This question is often asked just after I have euthanized an owner’s beloved pet. “How do you do this everyday???” is often followed. Lastly, “Thank you so much for helping us and making the worst possible day as good as it could be.”
My name is Dr. Faith Banks and I started Midtown Mobile Veterinary Hospice Services more than 6 years ago. At the time, I was caring for an incredibly loving and gentle Bernese Mountain Dog until I said goodbye, at my home, when she was 14 years old. During her last few years, I managed her mobility issues, anxiety and fecal incontinence. I realized I was likely not the only pet owner with an old declining dog, yet I wasn’t seeing dogs like this in general practice. I stumbled upon an article about Animal Hospice and knew this was the field for me. I now have the designation of being a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Veterinarian (CHPV), with only 6 others in all of Canada.
I work with 3 other incredibly compassionate veterinarians in and around Toronto and because we are a mobile service… we come to you. We work in your home, your pet’s favorite and least stressful place.
Our service is focused on geriatric pets and pets entering the last stage of their life. We offer in-home geriatric, palliative and hospice care consultations. These consultations provide proper observation of your pet in their normal environment allowing identification of any areas of concern, including poor quality of life and pain management. Common illnesses or diseases we frequently are palliating include, osteoarthritis and a subsequent decline in mobility, cognitive dysfunction syndrome, kidney disease, cancer and other age related changes.
We also provide pre-death education and bereavement support to help all members of the family as they prepare for the grief and loss of their beloved pet. If euthanasia has been decided as the best option of care for your pet, we will also provide this in your home. In-home euthanasia, is a very intimate and peaceful way to say goodbye to your pet. It is an honour to help families lovingly say goodbye to their pets in their own homes.
The time to reach out to a veterinary hospice doctor is earlier, rather than later in your pet’s life. If you start to see age related changes or your pet has just been diagnosed with a life limiting disease, we can help. Of course our main focus is on your pet, but we also help owners care for their pets during this time and prepare families for the eventual loss they will experience. A better end of life experience for the pet means a better experience for the owner.
Faith Banks, DVM, CHPV
Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Veterinarian
Midtown Mobile Veterinary Hospice Services
w: 416-817-3572 m: 647-990-3572
Providing geriatric and end-of-life care for your loved pets, all in the comfort and privacy of your home.