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Animal Doctor Articles Weekly on August 05, 2013

Question

Thank you so much for your article on euthanasia. Last June, I had to have my Westie, Holly, put down.

Holly had become so ill I had no other choice. She didn''t want to eat, and when she did, she was sick to her stomach. I was afraid she would starve to death.

Holly''s regular vet did not want to put her down until $2,000 worth of tests were done, so I had to find a more compassionate vet to help me. When I took her to the second vet, she seemed to be at peace with what was going to happen. I held her when she went to "sleep." I know she is in a better place now.

M.S., Virginia Beach, Va Aug 05, 2013

Answer

Your letters are important because they confirm how beneficial it can be for the beloved animal and the devoted caregiver to be together at the time of departure/euthanasia.

Some veterinarians do not allow this procedure after having had rare instances of animals having adverse reactions to euthanasia drugs or the animal''s guardians being emotionally unprepared. A few follow the unethical money-making practice of making people feel guilty if they do not pay for all kinds of diagnostic tests and life-extending interventions, which I have documented in "Healing Animals & the Vision of One Health." As a voice of conscience for the veterinary profession -- by default and not by design, since I have nothing to sell except compassion and bioethics -- I have received some castigating emails. But when we put animals before financial interests and do not shy away from euthanasia when quality of life and the degree of suffering justify a humane death, we may call ourselves civilized and human.

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