View Full Version : Itemized Bill for Euthanasia

08-17-2009, 06:31 PM
Hello everyone! I wanted to share something that I just went through - and after posting on a grief board for those that have lost their dogs to Lymphoma (LymphomaHeartDogAngels) - I found I wasn't alone. I thought it would be good to share with you so you don't experience what some of us did.

About a week ago I got the bill for Niko's euthanasia. The vet came to our house to do it. I knew a bill would follow a few week later - as they give you some time. The amount was fine, but seeing the itemized line items tore through me. On the far left, it lists the pet's name. So for the 7 or 8 line items on the bill, they list "Niko". Then they list what the line item is, next to the name. Just seeing "Euthanasia" next to his name as a line item was heart wrenching. I know what I had done.... I didn't need to see it in text.

I wrote to my vet and thanked them for all their wonderful service, but requested that they consider not sending an itemized bill. We (Angel's board) thought it might be good to request your vet's do the same. (I realize some of your vets may not do this. Or some of you may think in advance to give them a CC to charge and request no receipt at all.)

I am pasting a drafted letter you can copy & paste to send to your vet if you wish. If nothing else, I hope this email saves you from some shock and extra grief if you have to see THAT itemized bill.

Bettina & my sweet Angel Niko


Dear ________________________

I realize the time will come that I will lose my beloved pet. I would like to share my feelings with you on getting an ‘itemized bill’ for Euthanasia. Seeing the word “Euthanasia” next to your pet’s name is very painful. I would like to suggest that for those getting bills for Euthanasia, that you do not send an itemized bill unless requested. Perhaps just a statement showing the amount with a note that an itemized bill is available upon request.

If an itemized bill must be sent, perhaps you can list “Special Services” or “Compassionate Care” in place of the difficult word - "Euthanasia".

I imagine that it’s likely not obvious to someone that is not on the receiving end of that bill after losing a beloved pet, that it is very painful to see this text next to your pet’s name. I thought my suggestion may help others during a difficult time. I appreciate you taking it into consideration.



08-17-2009, 07:04 PM
OMG, Bettina, that is awful! When Dr. J had to help Barkley at the end, this was all done at the office, of course, but I never, ever saw a bill for that last day of care at all. She did not even charge for taking care of B until the pet cremation service could pick him up the next day.

I'm certainly glad you posted this as with Harley being 14 years old, he definitely has fewer days ahead of him, so I will certainly keep this in mind.


08-17-2009, 07:04 PM

Thanks very much for posting this.

And I do get your point, it is one thing to deal with the loss and of course it is also a service. And of course as well the Dr. must itemize it as a matter of business, but it would be extremely difficult for me to see as well.

I have never seen an itemized bill for euthanasia. I suspect what is happening is practices are becomming managed and this itemization is just part of the progress.

I also would have a very hard time dealing with such an itemized bill.


08-17-2009, 07:44 PM
Thanks for posting this for those of us who haven't been a part of the process for a very long time. The last time one of my pets had to have a vet's help to cross the bridge(1993) I don't even remember what the bill said... I just had to pay it before the process began. Our last pet to leave us did so on her own, at home.

08-17-2009, 08:08 PM
Euthanasia is not something any of us wants to ever face, but it is sometimes a price we pay for loving our babies so much. Anything that can make it a hair easier is worth mentioning IMO.

Love to you all!

08-17-2009, 08:29 PM
Hi, all! I feel I must share something that happened to me many years ago. When my first dog of my adult life was euthenized, I had her cremated with the thought of scattering her ashes in a place that she loved. When I decided to do it in my backyard that she loved, I opened her ashes to find teeth and bones. It was a horrifying experience, but I realized that people that perform these services are in it for the money and aren't very empathetic. They don't really think of the people who are grieving.I did report it and hope maybe it changed the way they did things, but who knows?My next dog was cremated and I would never open her ashes.We would all like to think that our doggy health providers are sensitive to the deaths of our babies, but they probably aren't as much as they should be.It is very sad when we lose our loved ones, but I'm not sure other professional people share our grief.

08-17-2009, 08:34 PM
thanks for bringing up that point too! i've never had an animal cremated, so that issue didn't occur to me. i'm sorry you experienced it.

we did an ash dive (scattered ashes during a skydive) for a friend years ago. since we were releasing them thousands of feet up, we had to make sure it was only ashes that we took up and we had to transfer the ashes to a special bag for freefall. we (not me directly) had to sift out the bone fragments and such. not pleasant at all.

08-17-2009, 09:00 PM
I was going to scatter the ashes of my beagle that was my buddy when I was a kid at our favorite camping place in the mountains. I had started college by then, but when I got the container back from my vet, & shook it, heard rattling inside. I thought "No way am I opening this because I don't want to see what might be in there. Ashes don't rattle." The container with the remains was buried in the backyard under some rose bushes.


08-18-2009, 01:54 AM
Eventhough it's not a pleasant experience to have to read those words, it's also (but I may be very down to earth) a fact of life. And, at least here in The Netherlands, a neccesity. For one, it's obligatory to send specified bills, no matter what business it is that is billing you. But also, we pay taxes for owning a dog, and the only way to stop those taxes is to hand the tax employer a handsigned form from the vet that states that this specific dog has died, cause of death, age, chipnumber, etc. And, the insurance company wants the same thing. So apart from the bill from the vet, we are faced with that word (euthenasia) on several forms several times in fact. So, I personally do not see it as being insensitive on the part of the vet...it's just a fact of life.

Saskia and Yunah.

08-18-2009, 10:04 AM
I understand the need for itemizing the bill for the vets records. My suggestion is that they send just a statement (unless an itemized bill is requested) or they perhaps use another term on there. Maybe this doesn't cut others like it cut me - but it hurt.

I've put down many horses, dogs, and cats in my life. However, Niko was my heart dog. I did everything humanly possible to give him the best life and make the best choices. While I know my decision to help him move on was a responsible one, and the right one, it still breaks my heart to know I forced that tie to be broken. He wasn't going to leave me, and I had to make the call to end his life. I know it's supposed to be a 'gift' we can give them. I get that.... but thats not how I feel right now.

Again - I understand what vets need to do on their end. My vets are wonderful. I am eternally grateful for the support they gave us. I just thought they may be able to re-think this a bit to help their many clients.

Truffa's Mom
08-20-2009, 12:16 AM
I agree with you Bettina, thank you for sharing.

10-15-2009, 09:35 PM
It's been just over 5 weeks since I let Lady go and I haven't any bill, except the receipt for the service that day. Nothing but a receipt that has just the $ number.
I don't know what the "lumps" are that are in the ashes but I have no problem with what they are.

I guess I need to email the clinic and tell them how fortunate I am that I don't have a bill with the itemized "expenses" for that day.
Take care,
Jo-Ann & my Dollydog angel :)