What would I do if it was my pet, Jimmy?
Over the years a number of clients have remarked that they couldn't possibly "do my job" as it entails bringing a patient's life to an end. Fortunately for me, in the vast majority of instances, I am able to bring to an end an animal's suffering.
Additionally, where a patient's quality of life has deteriorated to a point where it is severely compromised and there is no tangible pleasure then I believe that as a veterinary surgeon, unlike my medical counterparts, I am privileged to be in the position of ending that patient's meagre existence before it deteriorates further. The notion that a pet simply passes away in its sleep, whilst desirable, rarely occurs.
Sadly, there may be a few occasions in this current economic climate where finance is a significant factor. However, even on these occasions the dilemma centres on whether a client is prepared to pay for treatment of a patient suffering from an illness or disease. These patients are simply not well. Consequently, euthanasia does provide a viable alternative to leaving a patient in an intolerable condition without treatment. I am certain that most readers will accept that there are circumstances which are neither black nor white and where there is no right or wrong decision. Each client has to decide what is appropriate for them.
I am comforted by the fact that at Fairfield we have regular case conferences amongst our professional staff, who are all pet owners themselves, to help counsel owners in these difficult situations. The bottom line for me often becomes, "What would I do if it was my pet, Jimmy?"