Bereavement & End of Life Support (Equine)

This Bereavement and End of Life Support course relates to the care that teams in veterinary practices frequently provide for their clients at the end of their animals’ lives.
This course is appropriate for anyone who supports or deals with clients during this difficult time. The content, whilst written to accommodate non-clinical staff, is suitable for all members of the veterinary team.

Key Information

Duration / Length 5 hours
Start DateAnytime
Format video
Assessment Type multiple choice questions
Entry Requirements working in veterinary practice
Author / Speaker Steph Writer-Davies
Cost £100.00 + VAT

Customer rating

Course Content

The first module sets the scene for the course and will provide an overview of the content and requirements. 

Module 2 looks at the Human-Animal Bond, considering the importance of it for both the human and the animal and the benefits each receives from it. 

Module 3 looks at the psychology of grief beginning with its relationship to the 5 core emotions before looking at the different stages of grief, the emotional components of grief, the different types of grief and the outward manifestations of grief. 

Module 4 covers the time leading up to the death of an animal, focusing on providing care and support to clients as they perhaps struggle with the decision to put their much-loved pet to sleep or to come to terms with the fact that their animal’s life is ending.  It covers ways that we can help clients assess their animal’s quality of life in a more objective way which can be useful if they are finding it hard to know when the time has come to say goodbye. 

Module 5 is about Preparing for Euthanasia.  The process of euthanasia is described in detail, including the possible reactions that are sometimes seen and which aren’t necessarily predictable.  Understanding all this will mean that you will be able to explain it to owners, confidently but sympathetically, if necessary. 

Module 6 is about Bereavement Support in terms of the immediate support that you can offer to clients at the time of the death of their animal, considering helpful and appropriate ways to manage clients that become particularly distressed.  It also covers how the support offered at the point of loss may be slightly different from what may be better provided later on and discuss how you might consider setting up and offering a full Bereavement Support Service as well

Module 7 focuses on how an owner’s age or situation can affect the grief that they experience and the support that we provide.  It looks at how children are affected by the loss of an animal, considering the influence that their age and maturity may have on their understanding of the situation, providing useful guidance to help parents support their children through the grieving process. 

Module 8 looks at how the circumstances relating to the nature of the loss of an animal can influence grieving and the emotions we may see, covering those particularly distressing situations such as sudden or unexpected death, the death of an animal whilst it is receiving treatment at the veterinary practice and where euthanasia can be considered to be ‘forced’, for example as a consequence of financial constraints, behaviour problems, the death of an owner, a house move or welfare cases. 

Module 9 is all about problems that could arise and how to manage when things are difficult, including situations such as owners being in conflict over the decision to euthanase a pet, the potential fallout from the euthanasia consultation not going well, the awkward conversations around, confusion about how the body was to be dealt with and, shall we say, missing ashes or perhaps, dealing with complaints about how the euthanasia or death of an animal registered and usually cared for at your practice was handled elsewhere (for example an out of hours clinic or a specialist centre). 

The 10th module is all about looking after yourself and your own wellbeing.  Helping support owners and also potentially your colleagues at times of sadness around the death of animals can be hard and it is important that those providing the support are not adversely affected by it.  This module will cover topics such as emotional intelligence and Compassion Fatigue – what it is, how to recognise it and how to recover from it.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course you will be confident about 

  • The psychological importance of connection for humans and the nature of the relationship between people, including children, and animals
  • The 5 core human emotions and the different stages and types of grief.
  • The importance of end-of-life care to client bonding and practice reputation 
  • How to support owners with decision making about euthanasia, including the boundaries and responsibility associated with giving advice and the likely emotional states of owners during this time.
  • The process of euthanasia in detail, including possible complications that may occur during euthanasia
  • The practicalities relating to the euthanasia appointment, the steps involved in the euthanasia consult and what happens to the body afterwards.
  • How to support clients at the time of death and the options for providing further support, including how to manage distressed clients, setting up a bereavement support service and useful resources to signpost clients towards
  • The impact of grief in children and situations where the animal was the sole companion. Dealing with elderly owners, owners with mental ill health and the loss of an assistance animal.
  • How to deal with unexpected or sudden death, death whilst in the care of the practice, situations where euthanasia is ‘forced’ on the owner, death where owners can’t be present, euthanasia at the time of an animal and owners first visit and the loss of an animal due to theft or straying.
  • Deal with owners who are in conflict about their decision
  • Deal with issues when euthanasia doesn’t go smoothly and coping with errors around how the body was dealt with
  • Handle managing complaints after euthanasia was done elsewhere
  • Recognise, accept, and managing your emotions, including the need for boundaries, dealing with compassion fatigue and ways to help yourself.  This will include places to turn for support.


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I've gained a more in-depth knowledge of bereavement that will enhance the care we offer our equine clients – thank you for making this course!

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£100.00 + VAT