The One Thing I Hate More Than Euthanizing A Pet

euthanizing a petThere are so many great things about being a veterinarian, but just like any other job, there is a down side.  I hear so many people tell me that they would love to be in the field of veterinary medicine, but they just wouldn’t be able to deal with euthanasia.  Well, in my opinion, that isn’t the worst part of the job.  Discover what Dr. Anna Coffin hates more than euthanizing a pet.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an easy task, helping your furry patient cross over the Rainbow Bridge.  In fact, some are easier than others.  I knew I was helping 13-year-old, deaf Molly, who was in chronic pain.  Molly’s owner knew that her quality of life was failing, and we help end the suffering.  On the flip side, euthanizing an entire litter of abandoned puppies that had parvo, physically and mentally drained my entire staff and the rescuers.  It needed to be done, but it could have been prevented by spay and neutering and vaccinations.

The one thing I hate more than euthanizing a pet is telling a client that their dog has passed away under my care.  A majority of these patients are critically ill, and it requires a lot of work to get them back on their feet.  My team and I spend countless hours caring and treating our critically ill patients.  These are the cases where I become emotionally attached, and when they don’t survive, I feel like a failure.  Even though I know I did everything I could, I still feel responsible for that patient’s death.

But, that’s not the worst part.  I know that I have to contact the client and tell them that their beloved has passed away.  There is a pit in the bottom of my stomach, and I feel like I want to throw up.  I rehearse in my mind what I want to say.  How do you say to someone that their pet has died?  There are so many ways to phrase it … Fluffy died last night; she didn’t make it through the night; Fluffy passed away, she crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  I’m not sure that it really matters, all I know is that it is by far the hardest part of my job.

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