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Impacts of the process and decision-making around companion animal euthanasia on veterinary wellbeing
  1. Alisha R Matte,
  2. Deep K Khosa,
  3. Jason B Coe and
  4. Michael P Meehan
  1. Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Alisha R Matte; amatte{at}


A qualitative study using group and individual interviews involving 10 veterinary hospitals in Wellington County, Ontario, explored how the practices involved in euthanasia-related care impacts the wellbeing of veterinary professionals. Thematic analysis indicated two major outcomes: the goal and desire of veterinary professionals was to facilitate a ‘good death’ for the companion animal and navigating the euthanasia decision process was more challenging than the actual event of performing euthanasia. When successful in achieving a ‘good death’ and navigating euthanasia decisions, participants reported feeling that their own sense of wellbeing and the veterinary client’s sense of wellbeing were improved. When unsuccessful, participants reported experiencing a reduced sense of wellbeing, reduced job satisfaction, increased emotional strain and feeling that the client was also detrimentally impacted. For many participants, navigating euthanasia decision-making consultations was seen as a greater challenge and a greater contributor to a reduced sense of wellbeing than the act of euthanasia itself. These findings suggest that there is a need for greater attention and support for veterinary professionals, particularly when navigating euthanasia decision-making consultations. Additional training and resources on navigating euthanasia consultations may assist in improving the wellbeing for veterinary professionals and the companion animals and owners under their care.

  • companion animal euthanasia
  • euthanasia decision-making
  • veterinary wellbeing
  • euthanasia practices
  • thematic analysis
  • euthanasia consultations
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  • Funding Research was supported by a grant from the Ontario Veterinary College Pet Trust Fund. This publication is part of Ms Matte's PhD dissertation, the stipend for which was funded by an Ontario Veterinary College Scholarship, and the Ethel Rose Charney Scholarship in the Human-Animal Bond.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The study protocol was reviewed and approved by the University of Guelph Research Ethics Board (REB#14MY006) for compliance with federal guidelines for research involving human participants.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon request.

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