Dr. Katherine Goldberg founded Whole Animal with a mission to provide home-based, bond-centered veterinary care with a focus on geriatric support and hospice services. It is Dr. Goldberg’s belief that our relationships with animals are particularly poignant during end of life care. Her belief in the importance of whole body care rather than symptom-specific treatment is an underlying philosophy of the entire practice.

Services are growing, but clients may not be aware.

by Edie Jarolim

Animal_Hospice_Ithaca_NY Pain management, massage therapy, sitter referrals, and family counseling are among the services offered by veterinary practices focusing on end-of-life care, an emerging field described by the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC) as “exploding.” In spite of the increased number of these practices, many of them mobile, members of the public tend to be confused about them, if they are aware of them at all. Perhaps this should come as no surprise, given the current lack of consensus about guidelines and definitions among veterinary professionals—not to mention the difculty of marketing pet hospice, given the inevitable patient outcome. Sheila Kirt, DVM, of Home at Last in Tucson, Ariz., says, “The majority of people who contact me find me through word-of-mouth from other clients, and most of them specifically mention home euthanasia. Often, they want palliative care until they feel that euthanasia is the best choice, or they want an evaluation to give them an objective opinion of their pet’s condition.”

CLICK HERE to read the entire Story


The Ithaca Journal sat down with Dr. Goldberg for a chat about her work and the future of veterinary hospice and palliative care. This audio file is about 40 minutes long, and addresses issues such as:

What is hospice & palliative care for pets?

Is it anything new, or has this care been around for a while?

How does hospice & palliative care fit in with general veterinary care?

What is the future of hospice & palliative care within the academic veterinary community?

How does hospice care reflect upon the changing relationships with our pets, as well as the economic reality of the veterinary profession?

How can palliative medicine help to mitigate communication challenges between veterinarians and clients at the end of life?

to listen to the interview.

Ithaca Venterinary, Ithaca Veterenarian

Bark magazine has published Dr. Goldberg’s story “Saying Goodbye”, a piece about palliative care featuring Whole Animal patient Stryker, and his family. This exposure within mainstream media is a huge leap forward for veterinary palliative care in general, as well as Whole Animal and the Ithaca community specifically. Click Here to read the story.

Tripawds, the support community for amputee pets, is exploring veterinary hospice this week! Dr. Goldberg’s guest blog is online now,and she will be interviewed on Saturday. Click here to read the blog, learn more, and admire the Tripawds online forum.

Interest is brewing in the development of veterinary hospice within the academic community!

Click here to read this excellent overview of the development of the Veterinary Society for Hospice & Palliative Care, and its founders’ goals.

Ithaca’s own Dr. Goldberg has launched the Veterinary Society for Hospice & Palliative Care with her close friend & colleague, Dr. Page Yaxley of Michigan State University. This is the only professional veterinary organization dedicated to the advancement of hospice & palliative care, and is laying the groundwork for recognition as a boarded veterinary specialty. Dr. Goldberg is proud to have her hospice roots in Ithaca, home of the first residential hospice facility in NY state for people, Hospicare & Palliative Care Services of Tompkins County. Compassionate, progressive end-of-life care is far-reaching in this community, for both people & pets!
To read the press release for the Veterinary Society for Hospice & Palliative Care, click here.