A recent research study investigated the ethical dilemmas in veterinary medicine that the veterinarians from North America experience during their everyday work. The study was published in this month ’s issue of the “Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine”.

According to the authors of the study, veterinary medicine has a very complex ethical structure and in this complex structure, veterinarians have to balance between the obligations they have to the pets, to their owners, to all other veterinary professionals and the whole society. Very often, their ethical and moral compass places them in situations where they have to choose an action that is not always best for the pet or the practice.

The research study was conducted by surveying 889 veterinarians from the United States and Canada in order to find out what are the most common ethical dilemmas they have experienced on regular basis.

Among the most common answers were that they often have conflicts with the pet owners on how to proceed with the best care for the patient; that they are also often asked to do a course of treatment that they feel it’s wrong but the client is insisting, and some of them said that they comply with these requests because some kind of care is better than no care for their patients; many of the surveyed veterinarians said that often they can’t proceed with the treatment they think is the best, and many veterinarians said that very often they get requests for treatments that are in fact futile for the pet; some veterinarians admitted that they get inappropriate requests for euthanasia and that these requests cause them great distress.

These results show how much the veterinarians are under the pressure to provide the best care possible for their patients and at the same time to comply with the requests of the pet owners. More than 70% of the surveyed veterinarians said that they have not received instruction on how to deal with situations like these and how to resolve them.

 

Read the original article “Study: Ethical dilemmas and moral distress are widespread in veterinary field”.

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