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Monday, October 11, 2010

A vet's job

While a vet's job is dedicated to treating disease, it not always possible to do so. We have taken oaths to alleviate the suffering of animals. This is why it is incumbent upon veterinarians to help owners make a decision to euthanize their pet. Nay, to recommend that a pet be put to sleep.
If a dog has cancer, for example, it would be my recommendation to find out what that tumor is, where it is, the possibility of surgical resection, the repercussions of surgery, the chances of recurrence, and the presence of metastasis (spread).
If I find out that a tumor has littered the poor pet's body with metastases, it would not be my recommendation to send that dog for surgery or chemo. Call me old-fashioned. The pet's, and let's not forget, the owner's suffering following the diagnosis would far likely be greater than the quality and quantity of life that that pet would have in the weeks afterward (if surgery, chemo, etc, were done). Of course the patient's well-being comes first, but does the owner's well-being and suffering not count, too?
My views in this matter are not set in stone. Pet owners must be given their options - these decisions are ultimately up to them. Veterinary oncology has come a very long way and, very importantly, pets do not typically suffer through chemo in the same way that human patients do.
That said, part of my job is helping pet owners through these very trying times. I was issued the degree, I have a strong opinion on the matter, and I feel it is incumbent on me to help pet owners make the best decision. Very often, and especially in the aforementioned case, the best decision is saying goodbye.

8 comments:

Angus said...

You cannot believe how timely this is.

TorontoVet said...

Oh, no, Angus. What is it?

GoLightly said...

Straight talking, honest post.
Thank you, Doc.

All good thoughts to Angus...

SweetPea said...

Finally... a vet with some guts. Seems like the ones I've dealt with are so reluctant to mention putting the animal to sleep as the best coarse of action. Bravo!!

YLG said...

Hello Dr. Cliff - Nice to see you're still writing, haven't been around for awhile. If I wanted to make an appointment to ask you something about my dog, do I have to be a patient of your clinic? I wanted to get your opinion...not urgent -

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Dog lover said...

Honest Post .. Thank u dr

Campbelltown Vet said...

Great!..Veterinarians or doctors of veterinary medicine diagnose, and treat diseases and injuries of pets, such as dogs and cats, and farm animals, such as cattle or sheep: The veterinarian examines the animal to determine nature of disease or injury and treats the animal surgically or medically.
Your great Doc..Thanks.

Campbelltown Vet