I just listened to The role of client communication and euthanasia for the veterinarian | VETgirl Veterinary Continuing Education Podcasts with Professor Jane Shaw from Colorado State University.
What a great explanation of aspects of best practices in communication on sensitive issues like euthanasia and of the gaps there can be across pet owner and veterinarian perceptions.
This is worth listening to for both vets AND for anyone who has had, or will have, the experience of humanely letting go of a dear pet. Dr. Jane explains, with examples, some of the complex human issues in these kinds of visits and gives practical pointers on how communication can be improved. Her message is to vets, but I think owners can learn from this as well. Not every veterinarian has had the benefit of 20-plus hours of communication training from someone like Jane. Some veterinarians can struggle with euthanasia discussions. So, a knowledgeable client can be proactive in bringing up their concerns, and should not feel that their personal and emotional issues about their pet, or issues in their life, are irrelevant to the situation. Feel free to ask questions and share with your veterinarian.
We know that everything to do with pets is built on human-animal interactions. It can be challenging, but the complicated, complex human side is often as (or more) important than the medical facts. Only good can come from improved veterinary-client communication*.
It was my honour to work with the authors of the paper on which this interview was based (see below). And to have personally known Smokey the dog who was the canine patient in the study. Not every dog would say how thrilled he was to go to lots and lots of vet visits in the last months of his life, but Smokey seemed delighted with the outings! The contributions of the animals, their owners, and the innovative approach of the researchers combined to bring this important work to fruition.
J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2019 May 1;254(9):1073-1085. doi: 10.2460/javma.254.9.1073.
Comparison of veterinarian and standardized client perceptions of communication during euthanasia discussions.
Nogueira Borden LJ, Adams CL, Bonnett BN, Ribble CS, Shaw JR.
Matte, AR., Khosa, DK., Coe, JB., Meehan, MP. (2019) Impacts of the process and decision-making around companion animal euthanasia on veterinary wellbeing Veterinary Record 185, 480.
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.
*Also see DogWellNet.com's articles: