How Veterinarians Cope with Euthanasia

How Veterinarians Cope with Euthanasia by Deborah Y. Strauss D.V.M.

Perhaps the only thing harder than losing a pet is having to endure the experience several times a day. Veterinarians and their staff can sometimes participate in four or five euthanizations in a single day. Doing so is difficult and doesn’t seem to get any easier with time.

It’s tough to make the process painless for anyone (except the animal), but there are ways vets and their staff can cope with these losses.

Showing Emotion

Vets and staff members often cry when euthanizing an animal, and it’s important to make it known that this is okay. Doing so honors the loss and lets the family know that others truly care about both them and their animal. The rule of thumb is generally not to cry harder than the pet’s owner, but a good cry is a healthy and natural response that vets shouldn’t stifle.

Grieve Together

Veterinary office staff work together and support each other every day to save lives. There is no reason not to do the same when a life ends. Once a month, have a short staff meeting where the pets who were lost during the month are remembered. Grieving together is often helpful and the ceremony can serve as a rite of passage that helps bring closure.

Make Smart Hires

Some veterinary clinics will euthanize an animal at the owner’s request, even if the pet isn’t sick or injured. Known as convenience euthanization, this procedure is sometimes viewed as cruel. Some vets won’t perform this procedure, but others will. It’s important for clinics that do provide this service to tell potential employees that during their interview. Some people find this practice immoral and will struggle if asked to participate. They may do better working elsewhere.

Choose Participants Carefully

Over time, vets and vet techs form special bonds with certain pets and their owners. If a bonded animal needs euthanized, it’s a good idea to ask the staff member if they wish to assist. Some will want to be present when special animals go to sleep. Others won’t. Respecting these wishes allows staff members to grieve in the best way for them.

Send a Note

Doing good feels good, so encourage staff members to provide comfort to pet owners. Send a sympathy card shortly after the appointment and again on the anniversary date. This helps pet owners know that their beloved animal is remembered and can help staff members feel good about offering continuing support to clients.

Services at My Deborah Y. Strauss D.V.M. Mobile Veterinary Clinic

One way my practice is unique is that I’m willing to do house calls for euthanization. For example, if your beloved pet would be more comfortable passing at home instead of making a stressful trip to the office, that is a courtesy I’m more than willing to provide. I’ve found that it’s a more pleasant experience for pets and owners alike.

Tips for Managing Work-Related Stress as a Veterinarian

Tips for Managing Work-Related Stress as a Veterinarian by Deborah Y. Strauss D.V.M.

I know what you might be thinking… Veterinarians get to work with adorable animals all day. What is there to stress about?! The truth is that a veterinarian’s job can be just as stressful as any career in the medical profession.

Dangers of High Stress

Taking time to relieve stress is vital to a vet’s overall health. If a veterinarian has high stress levels for a prolonged period of time, it could lead to depression, anxiety, related health problems, or even burnout at work.

Managing Stress

Everyone veterinarian has different methods for managing their stress levels. Some turn to exercise and practice yoga, running, etc. Others prefer more artistic outlets, such as expressive writing. For me, my artwork is a stress-relieving part of my day.

One approach that I’ve seen help most people is mindfulness. When you notice that you’re becoming stressed, take a step back and examine your thoughts. If possible, take a short break from what you’re doing, breathe deeply, then continue on with your day. The power of positive thinking (and sometimes humor) can do wonders for your peace of mind and productivity.

There is also no shame in asking for professional help. Even those in the medical profession sometimes need to seek expert advice from a psychologist or psychiatrist. The key is finding stress management tactics that work for you.

Don’t let stress become a part of life that you just accept. Be proactive in finding ways to cope with that stress for a happier, healthier life.

Flea and Tick Prevention for Your Pets

Flea and Tick Prevention for Your Pets Deborah Y. Strauss, D.V.M

Summer is just around the corner, and that means fleas and ticks could be making your pets itchy and uncomfortable. Preventing infestation before it begins can diminish the chance of skin problems and infection in your household pets. In addition, keeping these pests off your pets can keep them out of your house.

There are now a plethora of products to choose from, including topical and injectable medications. You can work with your local vet to determine the best regimen for your pet, environment and schedule. Here are a few of the most common options.

Shampoos and Sprays

Shampoos and sprays are among the most common methods for preventing fleas and ticks. Some brands even kill fleas, ticks and mosquitos. Most products are recommended for pets older than 8-12 weeks. Your vet can help you decide on the best option for your pet. There are also all-natural products on the market. Keep in mind that you will need to apply the all-natural products more often for them to remain effective.

Topicals

We’ve all heard those catchy jingles advertising the latest brand in topical flea and tick prevention. Topicals are generally okay for animals above the age of 7-8 weeks. If a topical treatment is the best option for your pet, be sure to check if the product kills the adult pests while also controlling flea development. Most treatments are designed for monthly use.

Collars

Flea and tick collars are increasing in popularity because they last for months, making them convenient for busy pet owners. However, they sometimes need to be used in conjunction with other preventative medications, and can be potentially dangerous if small children or other dogs touch the collar. Additionally, a cat who isn’t used to wearing a collar may injure themselves trying to slip out of it. Your vet can help you weigh the pros and cons.

Other Methods

Depending on where you live, flea and tick medications may be necessary for your pets, but there are other ways to help. For example, you should have a well-kept yard and try to avoid bringing your pet to wooded, overgrown areas. You should also check your pets for fleas and ticks every day if they go outside. To check, part their fur with your fingers, even in between their toes and around the ears.

 

For concerns about fleas and ticks this season, talk to your pet’s veterinarian. If you notice that your pet is itchy, but you don’t notice any fleas, ticks or bumps, you should also call your vet. It is possible that your pet may have an allergy or other condition you should address.

Why Mobile Vet Clinics Are The Future Of Veterinary Care

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Mobile veterinary clinics are becoming increasingly popular with pet owners across the country. Many veterinary practices have implemented specially outfitted vans that travel to their clients’ homes, providing pet care while eliminating the need for clients to drive to the practice’s main office. These clinics primarily provide spay and neutering services as well as basic treatments. Some practices even offer end-of-life services via house calls.

Here are a few reasons why these mobile clinics are the future of veterinary care.

Convenience

An obvious reason for mobile clinics’ growing prominence is the convenience they provide to clients as well as their pets. Mobile clinics allow pet owners to remain in the comfort of their homes while taking care of routine check-ups and certain treatments. This convenience may also calm pets who are uncomfortable with the vet’s main office, as it can eliminate stress created by other pets, car trips, and anxiety triggers within a check-up room. A familiar environment may allow pets to develop positive association with vet interactions, which, in turn, can strengthen client-vet relations. This advantage can be especially comforting in end-of-life scenarios.

Added Insight

Mobility gives vets the chance to observe clients’ pets in their day-to-day environment. This insight that can potentially lead to a crucial diagnosis or solution to a nagging problem. For example, an owner that is overfeeding a pet may not realize he or she is doing so. A mobile vet may be able to identify this issue by observing the pet’s feeding habits and by looking at the physical amount in which the pet is being fed – something that wouldn’t be so easily observed if the pet was brought into the office from home.

Versatility

Mobile clinics allow vets to access pets in a variety of settings and situations. For instance, since sick or injured pets have a tendency to hide, mobile clinics allow vets to come directly to these animals, saving their owners the hassle of forcing them into a car, which is just added stress for the animal. Additionally, mobile services can also be beneficial in cases involving large and/or badly injured animals, who would be too difficult to transport.

Furthermore, mobility prevents vets from remaining constrained to a single geographic service area, giving them the chance to “capitalize on demand growth in other areas,” as noted by PetMD.com.

Saving Money

Compared to stationary vet offices, mobile clinics are much less expensive to create and operate. The Balance reports that mobile clinics require roughly $250,000 to start, a much cheaper price than that of traditional locations, which were estimated at around $1,000,000. Mobility also provides savings on property taxes, rent payments, and other financial responsibilities attached to a traditional stationary practice.

Preventative Care For A Healthier Pet

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The list of surgeries and treatments available to animals is longer than it’s ever been thanks to the advancements in technology and medicine. Having innovative treatment options for various illnesses and issues is impressive, but these remedies, depending on the type of care that’s needed, can be incredibly costly.

In order to combat these extravagant costs, pet owners are opting out of veterinarian visits and, instead, relying more and more on the information available to them online to help them care for their pets at home. As you could imagine, there are some pretty serious consequences that occur as a result. The illnesses or physical issues just continue to get worse until innovative treatment is absolutely necessary, whereas the problem could have been addressed much earlier on.

The solution? Preventative care, early detection of a myriad of health issues, and having a trusted veterinarian on your side.

Here are some preventative care tips that will prolong the health of your pet:

Keep Them Hydrated

Your pet can’t communicate with you with words, but there are physical signs that will tell you if your pet is well hydrated, like moist, pink gums and medium yellow-colored urine. Provide your pet with clean water every single day and wash their bowl frequently.

Introduce Good Nutrition Into Their Diets

You never want your pet to develop an obesity problem. Discover the appropriate number of calories, protein, and fat they need per day and make sure that is all you are feeding them. Also, these numbers are dependent upon your pet’s age, so make sure you are changing their diet as they experience the various stages in their life.

Practice Safe Grooming And Hygiene Techniques

Your pet’s teeth, ears, nails, and coat all need regularly cared for. Good and safe grooming and hygiene techniques will help to promote internal and external health for years to come. If you are unable to make the time for this, it’s crucial that you spend the necessary amount of money to have a professional take care of it then.

Never Skip An Exam

It may be tempting to save a little money this year but skipping your pet’s annual exam because they have always been healthy in the past. Avoid this mindset! These checkups are crucial for early detection if something were to be wrong with your pet.

Your pet’s health begins at home. Follow these tips for preventative care and give your pet the best life possible by prolonging the complications that you do have some control over.