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Impacts of the process and decision-making around companion animal euthanasia on veterinary wellbeing


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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