Posted November 15, 2013

Page Yaxley, DVM, and Katherine Goldberg, DVM, have launched a national, independent society to advance the discipline of Veterinary Hospice and Palliative Care.

As pet owners have come to see their pets as full-fledged members of the family, veterinary palliative and hospice care have expanded exponentially and are emerging as a distinct discipline of veterinary medicine.

Page Yaxley, DVM, assistant professor in the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, and Katherine Goldberg, DVM, have launched the Veterinary Society for Hospice and Palliative Care to advance the discipline, which requires a broad-based approach that includes geriatric medicine, pain management, critical care, and complementary therapies for patients, as well as educating and guiding people through patient care and the end-of-life process.

“We are focused on the forward momentum of this field, which sees humane, dignified end-of-life veterinary care as an integral part of overall wellness," says Yaxley, founder of the College's Veterinary Hospice Service.

Yaxley founded MSU's Hospice Service in 2011 and it remains one of only two hospice programs at colleges of veterinary medicine. In addition to providing palliative care and hospice services to patients in Michigan, Yaxley has presented at veterinary professional meetings across the country and has seen the growing interest in the field. She and Goldberg met at a veterinary hospice conference in California in 2012.

“The specialty includes medical care and a respect for the unique relationship between animals and their caregivers," says Goldberg, founder of one the very few veterinary practices in the country exclusively focused on geriatrics, hospice, and palliative care.

The organization's mission statement is “to advance veterinary medical knowledge, professional education, community engagement, and research in hospice and palliative care." The pair also see the Society as an organization where veterinary practitioners can learn, educate, and work together to lay the ground work for the establishment of a recognized veterinary specialty.