Emergency and Critical Care
90th FVMA Annual Conference
Euthanasia is commonly regarded as a way to humanely relieve patient suffering and is widely acceptable by veterinary staff and clients. However, even in dire situations where euthanasia is recommended, some owners refuse this option. This can lead to moral distress for the staff and the patient can suffer without adequate palliation of their natural death. This lecture will discuss some of the reasons why an owner may reject euthanasia and how understanding these reasons — be them cultural, psychological or a lack of understanding — can help the medical team reach their goals of improving patient comfort. Examples from difficult cases will be used, and communication strategies for various situations will be offered. If an owner elects natural death despite these conversations, knowing how to best support natural death is crucial, and palliation in these circumstances will be discussed.