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  • cours - matière potentielle : historical writing
  • expression écrite
THE LIBERAL TEMPER IN CLASSICAL GERMAN PHILOSOPHY: FREEDOM OF THOUGHT AND EXPRESSION Michael N. Forster Consideration of the German philosophy and political history of the past century might well give the impression, and often does give foreign observers the impression, that liberalism, including in particular commitment to the ideal of free thought and expression, is only skin-deep in Germany. Were not Heidegger's disgust at Gerede (which of course really meant the free speech of the Weimar Republic) and Gadamer's defense of prejudice and tradition more reflective of the true instincts of German philosophy than, say, the Frankfurt School's heavily Anglophone-influenced
  • further influences
  • traditional argument to the effect that part of the value of freedom of thought
  • political nature than the liberalism of the weimar
  • freedom of thought
  • j.s. mill
  • j. s. mill
  • liberalism
  • nineteenth century
  • von
  • politics



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MSU College of Social Science
Faculty Research Initiative
Veterinary Social Work Services
Submitted by
Danielle Rudder, LLMSW
Peg Whalen, PhD, MSW
Linda L. Lawrence, MSW, LMSW
School of Social Work
Michigan State University
October 14, 2008Faculty Research Initiative • Veterinary Social Work Services • October 2008
Contents List of Tables
List of Tables.............................................. 2 Table 1 • Veterinary Practice Information........ 6

Acknowledgments ....................................... 3 Table 2 • Types of Practice............................ 6
Overview ................................................... 4 Table 3 • Types of Clients Served
by Veterinary Medical Practices...................... 6
Method...................................................... 5
Table 4 • Level of Ease Interacting
Results ...................................................... 5 with Clients in Crisis..................................... 7
Veterinarian Demographics Table 5 • Discussions within Veterinary
& Background Information....................... 5 Practice...................................................... 7
Veterinary Practice Information ................ 5 Table 6 • Utility of VSW Services.................... 7
Vactice Events Table 7 • Services Provided by Veterinary
& Professional Experiences ...................... 7 Practices after the Death of a Pet................... 8
Client Loss & Grief Table 8 • Non-Medical Human Needs
after the Death of a Patient ..................... 8 & Issues Encountered................................... 10
Euthanasia............................................ 9 Table 9 • Interest in Veterinary Social Work
Services..................................................... 11
Non-Medical Needs & Issues
among Human Clients ............................ 10 Table 10 • Interest in Vork
or Participating in Interviews......................... 12
Veterinary Interest
in Social Work Service............................ 11 Table 11 • Disinterest versus Interest
in Learning More or Contributing.................... 13
Implications ............................................... 13
Conclusion ................................................. 14
Appendix: Survey Instrument....................... 15
2Faculty Research Initiative • Veterinary Social Work Services • October 2008
he Veterinary Social Work Services Study project was results and value of the fndings.
funded by a grant from the Michigan State University Special recognition goes to Dr. Patrick H. LeBlanc, TCollege of Social Science Faculty Research Initiative Director of the MSU VTH, for his time and attention to
and by the Michigan State University School of Social Work. detail during the creation of the survey; Dr. Mari Nicol, of
The MSU School of Social Work would like to extend the Willoughby Pet Clinic, for her suggestions during the
its sincere appreciation to Dean Marietta Baba and the MSU writing process and her continued support for the value
College of Social Science for making this project possible. of the Veterinary Social Work Services; Dr. Margaret Berry
Along with the College of Social Science, the School of and her staff at the Mt. Hope Veterinary Hospital for their
Social Work contributed funds and services to complete the contributions; Dr. Cheri Johnson, Chief of Staff and Professor
project. We would like to express gratitude for the support at the VTH; Dr. Barbara Kitchell, Director of Oncology at the
of the project by the Michigan State University College of VTH; Lisa Reed, Support Staff Supervisor at the VTH; Gary
Veterinary Medicine (CVSM) and the Veterinary Teaching Foltz, Administrative Assistant at the VTH; and Dr. Sarah
Hospital (VTH). More specifcally, our sincere thanks to Abood, Assistant to the Dean of the CVM. Without the
Dr. Christopher Brown, Dean of the College of Veterinary support and assistance of these people, this project may not
Medicine; Dr. Lonnie King, former Dean of the College of have been completed in this valuable and successful form.
Veterinary Medicine; and Dr. Gary Anderson, Director of In addition, thanks are offered to Peg Whalen, PhD;
the MSU School of Social Work. Danielle Rudder, LLMSW; Rose Homa; and Danielle Doski;
The MSU School of Social Work extends its appreciation who worked countless hours on survey development,
to the funders, agencies and individuals that contributed coordinating data collection, entering and interpreting the
to this Michigan Veterinary Social Work Services Study. data, and writing this report.
Although the School of Social Work team distributed, Finally, very special thanks to the veterinary medical
collected, compiled, and analyzed the information for the professionals who generously donated their time, thoughts,
research survey, many others played signifcant roles in the and opinions to complete the surveys used in generating
process. Their assistance and feedback strengthened the this report.
3Faculty Research Initiative • Veterinary Social Work Services • October 2008
he emergence of a new frontier for social work importance of animals in the lives of individuals, families,
practice, theory, and services is an uncommon and communities. These practitioners have worked with Toccurrence. At the Michigan State University School people around grief and bereavement issues, used animal-
of Social Work, pioneering work is beginning on the assisted therapies, or used their own companion animals
development and expansion of a new feld of practice, as collaborators in individual and family psychotherapy
veterinary social work (VSW). This feld of practice is an sessions.
interdisciplinary frontier between the School of Social Over the past two decades, veterinary medical educa-
Work and the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). tion and teaching clinics around the country have recog-
The relevance of the human-animal bond for social work nized the need for social workers as full-time staff. In the
education, service delivery, and scholarship is apparent schools of social work at MSU, the University of Tennessee,
to many social work practitioners and has been for many and University of Pennsylvania, among others, educators
years. This research study is designed to provide evidence have created feld education placement sites for BSW and
to: (1) support the development and recognition of VSW MSW students. In order to meet the need for veterinary
as a viable, appropriate feld of practice; (2) to evaluate social workers, schools of social work must move more
interest in the need for access to professional social quickly to expand feld education opportunities, identify
workers by community-based veterinarians and veterinary community sectors appropriate for feld education, and
practices; and, (3) to evaluate the delivery of on-site social evaluate the effectiveness of existing VSW services.
work services to clients served at the MSU CVM teaching The present research study addresses each of these
hospitals since January 2006. needs for information. It includes a needs and interests
The felds of nursing, medicine, gerontology, and assessment survey that was distributed to the 90+ veterinary
veterinary medicine have recognized the importance of practices throughout the greater Lansing, Michigan area.
the human-animal bond for decades. Social work has This project will contribute to the establishment of the
been slower, as a profession, to recognize the same. Many importance of the human-animal bond and VSW services
social work practitioners individually have understood the within the social work profession and graduate education.
4Faculty Research Initiative • Veterinary Social Work Services • October 2008
Method Results
o advance knowledge about VSW, a survey total of 59 surveys were completed and returned,
instrument was developed for this project. The initial with an additional 5 surveys returned as Tdraft was provided by an area veterinarian with a Aundeliverable. The response rate for this project
clinic in mid-Michigan. Redrafting was addressed by was 18.6%. Frequencies for the quantitative portions of
undergraduate research assistants, MSU Honors College the survey were calculated using SPSS version 15.0. The
professorial assistants, and a larger collaborative campus survey instrument included 8 open-ended questions, which
group called the MSU Human-Animal Bond Initiative. elicited responses ranging in length from a single word
The survey was pilot tested with the Dean of MSU’s CVM to 155 words. This qualitative information was analyzed
teaching hospitals and clinics. This process preceded the using a content analysis to identify common themes for
award of funding from the MSU College of Social Science. each question. The results of these analyses are described
The survey is a product of multiple revisions over a period in the following pages.
of time, involving a diverse group of contributors. This
developmental process resulted in a survey refecting this Veterinarian Demographics
positive collaborative effort. & Background Information
Survey recipients were identifed by a research
assistant using online internet searches to locate the names Survey respondents were 64.4% female and 35.6%
and mailing addresses of veterinarians and veterinary male. They ranged in age from 28 to 71, with a mean
clinics in mid-Michigan counties, including Ingham, Eaton, age of 45.8 years (SD = 11.21). With regard to the year in
Clinton, Shiawassee, Livingston, Barry, and Ionia. Surveys which they received their DVM, responses ranged from
were mailed to 267 veterinarians by name; another 43 were 1961 to 2005, with a median year of 1989. The number of
mailed to clinics without identifying the veterinarian(s) years spent in clinical practice ranged from 3 to 47, with
by name. An additional 12 surveys were distributed to a mean of 19.9 years (SD = 11.83); the amount of time in
attendees at the Annual Michigan Veterinary Medical their current practice ranged from 6 months to 47 years,
Association Conference. This method of identifying with a mean of 19.9 years (SD = 13.02). Membership in the
respondents used a method similar to what an individual Michigan Veterinary Medical Association was indicated by
or family would use to choose a veterinarian for their 81.4% of respondents.
pets. This method of sampling yielded a modest number Formal instruction or resources regarding the human-
of returned questionnaires. The next phase of surveying animal bond were received by 50.8% of respondents during
can be informed by the Michigan Veterinary Medical their veterinary medical educations. Of these, the majority
Association membership list, yielding a statewide list of (73.3%) received this information in one class session. More
potential survey respondents. than a quarter of all respondents (26.7%) indicated that they
had supplemented this with independent study or self-
directed reading. Seminars or workshops were attended
by 20.0%, and 16.7% indicated that they had attended one
or more courses pertaining to this topic. Finally, 3.3% chose
“other,” with one respondent providing the description of
“my own experience.”
Veterinary Practice Information
With regard to how many clients the respondents
currently had in their computers or fles, answers ranged
from 300 to as many as 41,000. Of these, 46.5% indicated
that they had less than 5,000 clients, with a mean of 2,045
(SD = 1,372); 34.9% had between 5,000 and 9,999 clients,
with a mean of 6,383 (SD = 1,444); and 18.6% had 10,000 or
more clients, with a mean of 24,875 (SD = 12,733). Further
details are provided in Table 1.
5Faculty Research Initiative • Veterinary Social Work Services • October 2008
service, with one respondent specifying “only specifc Table 1
situations.” There were 17.5% who indicated that they Veterinary Practice Information
never performed house calls, 42.1% “rarely,” Number of clients Percentage of practices
29.8% said “sometimes,” 3.5% said “generally,” and 5.3% 0-499 9.3%
said “all the time.” 500-999 4.6%
With regard to referrals, 67.2% indicated that they 1,000-4,999 32.6%
regularly made referrals to MSU veterinary clinics or 5,000-9,999 32.6%
teaching hospitals, with an additional 32.8% stating that 10,000-19,999 34.9%
they did so occasionally. Regular referrals to the MSU Pet 20,000-39,999 7.0%
Loss Support Group were indicated by 10.3%, with 39.7% 40,000+ 4.6%
indicating that they occasionally did so, and 50.0% saying
that they never did so. Referrals to after-hours urgent care The vast majority of respondents, 93.1%, indicated that
facilities were regularly made by 58.5%, occasionally by they employed staff in their practice or clinic. The number
32.8%, and never by 8.6%.of offce support workers or managers ranged from 0 to
The survey solicited information pertaining to the 14, with one outlying value of 612; excluding this outlier,
types of clients to whom respondents provided services the mean number of offce staff was 3.7 (SD = 3.79). The
in a “check all that apply” format. This information is number of licensed veterinary technicians ranged from 0 to
summarized in Table 3.50, with a mean of 3.49 (SD = 7.62). The number of medical
support staff ranged from 0 to 20, with a mean of 4.52 (SD
Table 3 = 4.78). The number of kennel or animal caretakers ranged
Types of Clients Served from 0 to 20, with one outlying value of 91; excluding this
by Veterinary Medical Practicesoutlier, the mean number of kennel or animal caretakers
Unattached single adults 98.3%was 3.58 (SD = 4.32). The majority of respondents (73.9%)
Widowed adults 98.3%indicated that they do not employ interns; the number
Families with children 96.6%of interns ranged from 0 to 8, with a mean of 0.63 (SD =
Senior citizens 96.6%1.72). Finally, 22.0% of respondents included additional
Married/partnered adults 96.6%information pertaining to other types of staff employed in
College students 93.2%their practices. These included bookkeepers, receptionists,
Hunting/sporting dog owners 84.7%groomers, residents, and associate veterinarians. None
Veterinary offce support staff 81.4%indicated that they employed social workers or related
Therapy animal owners/handlers 78.0%mental health professionals.
Breeders and handlers 78.0% The survey instrument solicited information regarding
Veterinary technicians 74.6%the respondents’ type of practice in a “check all that apply”
Animal rescue organization members 67.8%format. This information is summarized below in Table 2.
Service animal owners 66.1%
Table 2 Veterinary students 64.4%
Types of Practice Working animal owners/handlers 57.6%
Social workers 55.9%Small animals 81.4%
Kennel/pet day care staff 54.2%Exotics 16.9%
K-9 law enforcement team(s) 45.8%Mixed practice 11.9%
Animal shelter staff 45.8%Emergency/urgent care 10.2%
Facility animal owners/handlers 35.6%Specialty referrals 8.5%
Search and rescue team(s) 32.2%Large animals 6.8%
Other, please describe 16.9%Mobile clinic/client home-based 5.1%
With regard to the “please describe” portion of the Respondents specifed the types of exotic animals
last item, 2 respondents specifed zoo animals, 2 indicated they treated, which included rabbits, rodents, guinea pigs,
that they would treat anyone who could pay for services, 1 reptiles, ferrets, birds, wildlife, and zoo animals. Specifed
specifed agricultural equine, 1 specifed race horses, and 1 referrals included relief veterinary services for the Humane stray or abandoned animals found on the way to Society and shelters, equine dentistry, reproduction/frozen
work or at work. An additional 3 respondents indicated that semen, and “practice for MSU.” With regard to house calls,
the practice probably served social workers or hunting/10.2% of respondents indicated that they provided this
6Faculty Research Initiative • Veterinary Social Work Services • October 2008
sporting dog owners, but that they didn’t usually ask these such as “reviewing treatment plans to hostile clients.”
things. Discussions pertaining to terminal illness or poor prognosis
The survey instrument asked how respondents would were identifed as challenging by 13.7%, with an additional
rate their level of ease, comfort, or confdence when 5.9% specifying that these discussions were particularly
interacting with clients in crisis or under stress on a 1-to-5 diffcult when children or seniors were involved. Finally,
scale, with 1 indicating “almost none,” 3 indicating “some,” 9.8% of responses were classifed as “other,” with examples
and 5 indicating “very.” These responses are summarized such as “politics” or “obesity.”
below in Table 4.
Veterinary Practice Events
Table 4 & Professional Experiences
Level of Ease Interacting with Clients in Crisis
1 - Almost none 2 3 - Some 4 5 - Very The survey asked whether respondents had known a
0.0% 3.4% 13.8% 55.1% 27.6% colleague who left veterinary practice due to compassion
fatigue, with the choices being veterinarians, clinical
The fnal question in this portion of the survey asked, technicians, or “other, please describe.” Veterinarians
“What types of issues or discussions do you fnd most were indicated by 28.8%, with one respondent stating that
challenging to have with clients?” This question was “it was a minor part of the reason for leaving.” Clinical
answered by 86.4% of survey respondents. Of these, 35.3% technicians were indicated by 30.4%. An additional 6.8%
indicated that general fnancial discussions were most provided additional information pertaining to the choice,
challenging, providing responses such as “cost of care,” “other, please describe.” These respondents indicated
“money issues,” or simply, “fnancial.” Euthanasia was that technicians seem to “burn out” more frequently than
cited by one-third (33.3%). In addition to general discussions veterinarians, that some vets decrease their hours for this
about cost of care, 27.4% of respondents indicated that reason, that receptionists have left due to compassion
they were specifcally troubled by talking to owners who fatigue, or that they themselves have elected to leave private
cannot or will not pay for treatment, with responses such practice and concentrate solely on surgical procedures for
as “when the problem is treatable, but owners don’t have this reason. This section of the survey included 3 questions
the money to treat.” Discussions involving chronic illnesses regarding discussions of stressful events within veterinary
or explaining illnesses to owners were identifed by 15.9%, practices and 3 questions assessing their perceived utility of
such as “explaining complicated diseases like Cushing’s the VSW specialization. These responses are summarized
Disease.” Another 15.9% cited diffculties with clients, in Tables 5 and 6.
Table 5
Discussions within Veterinary Practice
1 - Never 2 3 4 5 - Always
In your practice, how often do you discuss YOUR feelings after a patient’s death (either 15.3% 13.6% 32.2% 30.5% 8.5%
from euthanasia or from other causes)?
In your practice, how often do you discuss your STAFF’s feelings after a patient’s death
10.5% 8.8% 42.1% 33.3% 3.5%(either from euthanasia or from other causes)?
In general, how often do you and your staff discuss the highly stressful events? 5.2% 13.8% 27.6% 39.7% 10.3%
Table 6
Utility of VSW Services
1 - Not at all 2 3 4 5 - Very
In your practice, how helpful do you think it would be for your staff to have another
professional available to discuss their thoughts and concerns about patient deaths, client 10.3% 31.0% 32.8% 19.0% 5.2%
grief and loss, or other client issues?
How helpful to you and your staff would it be to have a social work professional available to
5.1% 27.1% 32.2% 25.4% 10.2%
discuss challenging client behaviors and issues?
To what extent do you feel isolated from other veterinarians or professionals? 28.8% 23.7% 27.1% 11.9% 8.5%
7Faculty Research Initiative • Veterinary Social Work Services • October 2008
Finally, this section included 2 open-ended questions. Client Loss & Grief
The frst of these was, “In general, how do you personally after the Death of a Patient
respond to stressful events in your practice?” This question
was answered by 83.0% of respondents. Of these, almost The frst question in this section of the survey asked
half (49.0%) responded that they talk with others, such what the respondent or their clinic staff did when a client’s
as colleagues, staff, family, friends, or therapists. Specifc pet died in a “check all that apply” format. Responses to
coping strategies were identifed by 20.4%, including this item are summarized in Table 7.
spending time in quiet refection, meditation, or prayer;
exercise; socializing; drinking alcohol; engaging in hobbies; Table 7
or spending time with their own pets. Attempts to stay calm Services Provided by Veterinary Practices
and maintain perspective were cited by 20.4%, such as “I after the Death of a Pet
try to keep a sense of perspective and humor as well as Provide compassionate care 96.6%
consider all aspects of the issue.” Another 18.4% conveyed a Send a sympathy card 94.9%
matter-of-fact attitude or indicated that they cope well, with Provide in-clinic support prior to the pet’s death 74.6%
statements such as “I usually do what I need to do to get Make a charitable donation in the name of the pet 32.2%
through the day,” or “I don’t get that stressed very often— Follow up contact by phone from veterinarian 30.5%
whatever happens, happens.” Concentrating on work or Send a customized memorial item with the name of the pet 25.4%
not thinking about stress was cited by 18.4%, with responses Other, please describe 18.6%
such as “internalize events to try to minimize stress to my Follow up contact by phone from staff other than the
11.9%staff” or “I work through the stress.” An additional 16.3% treating veterinarian
described mood problems caused by stressful events, such Send a generic memorial item 8.5%
as anxiety, depression, anger, rumination, and self-blame.
With regard to the “please describe” portion of the Finally, 14.3% provided examples of outward expressions
last item, sending fowers was cited by one-third (33.3%). of stress, such as swearing, “primal scream,” and, most
Another third indicated that they give gifts, such as “clay often, crying.
paw” memorials, terrariums, or photos of the pet. An The second open-ended question in this section of
additional 16.7% were classifed as “other,” including the survey was, “In general, how do you handle diffcult
providing information on pet loss hotlines or follow-up human clients? For example, clients who create stress
calls by the veterinarian “occasionally in special cases.”or strife for your staff.” This survey item was answered
This section of the survey also solicited information by 84.7% of respondents. Most frequently cited was
pertaining to referrals for grieving clients. Lists of the use of diplomacy, negotiation, communication, and
counselors or psychotherapists to whom respondents professionalism, with 68.0% providing examples such as
could refer clients regarding the loss of a companion “be professional, honest, and straightforward with client.”
animal were kept by 22.0% of veterinarians. An additional Most other responses, 52.0%, involved implementing
6.8% of respondents indicated that they had a particular penalties, such as “suggesting that the client may be
counselor or psychotherapist to whom they regularly happier with another veterinarian,” banning or “fring”
referred grieving clients. Referrals to the MSU Pet Loss diffcult clients, or in some cases, calling the police. Having
Support Group or Pet Loss Hotline had been made by someone else deal with diffcult clients, most frequently the
62.1% of respondents. A large majority of respondents, offce manager, was cited by 16.0%. Separating the client
87.5%, indicated that they would be interested in receiving or speaking to them privately in an exam room was cited
a list of therapists to whom they could refer grieving clients, by 12.0%. Discussions amongst the staff were indicated
with one respondent specifying that he/she “would prefer by 10.0%. Another 10.0% of responses were classifed as
knowing the list exists but might lose it in the offce” and “other,” including statements such as “depends on the
another writing “not sure.” case,” “yes,” and “I take them personally, and it can ruin
my day.”
8Faculty Research Initiative • Veterinary Social Work Services • October 2008
Finally, the survey included the question, “How do that they offer pre-euthanasia tranquilization. With regard
you support grieving clients?” This survey question was to home euthanasia, 72.9% of respondents indicated that
answered by 72.9% of respondents. The vast majority, they offered this service. An additional 6.8% of respondents
85.3%, cited talking or listening as the preferred method of indicated that they offered this service in the past, but no
supporting grieving clients. This included answering client longer do so.
questions, listening as the client recalled good memories of A large majority of respondents, 94.9%, indicated that
their pet, or sharing stories of their own losses. Referrals to they make arrangements for handling remains. This section
hotlines or support groups were cited as being provided of the survey included the open-ended question, “Who
by 35.3%. Following up with cards or phone calls was in- handles making arrangements for handling remains?” This
dicated by 32.3% of respondents. Acknowledgment of the question was answered by 91.5% of survey respondents.
client’s grief was mentioned by 29.4%, such as “acknowl- Of these, 38.9% stated that staff or technicians make these
edging the pet’s status as a family member and the likeli- arrangements. Referrals to outside agencies or services,
hood that the grief may linger or recur for a long while.” most often cremations or pet cemeteries, were cited by
Providing reassurance was cited by 20.6%, most often in 35.2%. Another 27.8% indicated that such arrangements
the form of rthat the client did the right thing were made by the staff, technicians, and/or veterinarians.
for their pet. Displays of emotion, such as crying or hugs, Finally, 9.3% indicated that only the veterinarian makes
were indicated by 17.6%, and compassion was mentioned these arrangements.
by 14.7%. Another 14.7% stated that they gave the client The Euthanasia section of the survey concluded with
time alone with the pet. Finally, 8.8% mentioned providing 2 open-ended questions. The frst was, “How do you feel
education, most often by explaining what to expect during after performing euthanasia?” This question was answered
euthanasia. by 89.8% of survey respondents. One common theme was
the statement that “it depends,” which was indicated by
28.3% of respondents. The majority, 69.6%, mentioned Euthanasia
negative emotions, most often sadness or a feeling of being
“drained.” Many responses conveyed a deep emotional This section of the survey solicited information
impact, such as “I feel very sad as if something precious pertaining to the clinic’s procedure or protocol for handling
has been lost or broken” or “it tears my heart apart.” euthanasia. The vast majority of respondents, 98.3%,
Over half of respondents (56.6%) also mentioned positive indicated that they allowed the client to remain present
emotions, most often relief, or lack of negative emotions, during euthanasia. A similar majority, 93.2%, indicated
9Faculty Research Initiative • Veterinary Social Work Services • October 2008
such as “I feel somber but not bad.” The necessity of by 30.2%. Examples of such responses are “I often try to
euthanasia was cited by 39.6%, with responses such as think what I could have done different, how is this my
“often it is very necessary treatment for end of life.” Relief fault?” or “like I missed something, didn’t have the right
of suffering was mentioned by 34.0%. More than one- answers…I failed.” A large majority, 69.8%, also specifed
quarter of respondents (26.4%) indicated that they are other negative emotions, such as sadness, devastation,
troubled by unnecessary euthanasias, most often those anger, frustration, anxiety, and panic. Positive emotions, or
performed due to behavior problems or because the owner lack of negative emotions, were mentioned by almost one-
cannot afford treatment, such as “euthanasia for behavior quarter (24.5%). Positive emotions included relief if the
issues—inappropriate urination for example—I feel the animal was suffering or pride in the treatment provided;
need to apologize to the pet for my failure or owner’s.” lack of negative emotions included statements such as “if
There were 22.6% who specifed that euthanasia is more I know I am up against a bad disease or situation where a
diffcult when they have an attachment to the pet or owner, miracle is what the animal needs, it is somehow easier.”
such as “the special patients make me cry.” Others, 18.9%, Another 24.5% mentioned that it depended upon whether
indicated that euthanasia is not a problem for them, such the death was expected, providing responses such as, “if
as “I only perform euthanasias if I agree with the reason. it was unexpected, e.g., HBC, everyone is devastated,” or
Generally, it does not bother me at all.” Empathy for “it is very hard when I do not expect to lose to a disease
the owner’s loss was mentioned by 13.2%. Professional I should have been able to conquer.” Learning from the
role was cited by 9.4%, such as “part of the job of being situation or researching the cause of death was cited by
a compassionate and caring veterinarian.” Another 9.4% 15.1% of respondents. Finally, 7.5% mentioned having
specifed that it depended upon whether the procedure done everything possible such as the response, “depends
went smoothly. Finally, 7.5% identifed coping methods, on if I did I could; at this point in my career—I
frequently detachment. Examples include “it bothered me miss very little.”
after graduation, but now I put it out of my thoughts…I
just put it somewhere in my brain where it does not bother
Non-Medical Needs & Issues me,” or “sometimes I am like a robot because I am detached.
among Human ClientsI know it is sad, but feel like I cope ok.”
The last open-ended question in this section of the
This section of the survey consisted of a table asking survey was, “How do you feel after a non-euthanasia
how often respondents encountered various non-medical death of one of your patients?” All 89.8% of respondents
human needs and issues in their practices. Responses to who answered the previous question also answered this
these items are summarized in Table 8. question. A similar proportion, 30.2%, specifed that “it
depends.” Feelings of failure and self-doubt were indicated
Table 8
Non-Medical Human Needs & Issues Encountered
Unsure or 5 -Very
1 - Never 2 - Rarely 3 - Sometimes 4 - Often
suspected often
Mental health issues 6.9% 3.4% 19.0% 62.1% 8.6% 0.0%
Animal owner hospitalization 3.4% 3.4% 28.8% 57.6% 6.8% 0.0%
Owner isolation 10.3% 6.9% 27.6% 46.6% 6.9% 1.7%
Animal collecting/hoarding 1.7% 8.5% 37.3% 44.1% 8.5% 0.0%
Family dynamics/child maltreatment/domestic violence 22.0% 8.5% 50.8% 18.6% 0.0% 0.0%
Financial issues/poverty/high debt/bankruptcy 1.7% 1.7% 6.8% 33.9% 47.5% 8.5%
Bereavement/grief/loss issues 1.7% 0.0% 15.3% 54.2% 22.0% 6.8%
Substance abuse 8.5% 6.8% 50.8% 28.8% 3.4% 1.7%
Housing issues/homelessness 10.2% 28.8% 47.5% 13.6% 0.0% 0.0%
Hunger 19.0% 43.1% 29.3% 5.2% 1.7% 0.0%
Munchausen by animal proxy 25.0% 30.4% 28.6% 12.5% 0.0% 0.0%
Literacy issues 13.6% 16.9% 45.8% 23.7% 0.0% 0.0%
Dog fghting/cock fghting 15.3% 37.3% 35.6% 11.9% 0.0% 0.0%
Excessive attachment to animal(s) 1.7% 5.1% 15.3% 49.2% 22.8% 6.8%