Top 3 Hardest Things About Being a Veterinarian
Posted on August 15, 2012 under Pet Health & Safety
Being a veterinarian can be one of the most gratifying careers in the world. We have the ability to heal companions, which for many, are part of the family. But being a veterinarian also has its share of challenges. It this blog, I’ll give you the inside scoop on what I think are the top 3 most difficult aspects of being a veterinarian.
Coming in at Number 3: Euthanasia
Often times, clientele comment on how euthanasia must be the hardest part of my job. While it can be very emotionally taxing, the truth is euthanasia is not the hardest part of my career. As a veterinarian, it is a double-edged sword. Euthanasia is often a wonderful service to be able to provide to a suffering animal, or one that has terminal disease and no longer has an acceptable quality of life. That being said, many times a veterinarian develops a personal relationship with not only the pet owners, but the animal as well. Sometimes it is very difficult to not break down and cry during a euthanasia. Sometimes it happens.
Number 2: Abuse
If you’ve ever looked into the innocent eyes of an animal that has an unexplained fear of people, an animal that quivers thinking it could be beaten at any time for reasons that aren’t understood, then you know what type of gut wrenching feeling that invokes. Animal cruelty can occur in more forms than just physical violence, it can also include negligence, hording, and abandonment to name a few. I see cases on a routine basis where an animal owner doesn’t even realize that they are being negligent to their pet. Domesticated animals rely on their owners to not only provide food, water, and shelter, but a nurturing environment as well. As veterinarians, we are ethically bound to report suspected cases of abuse. That alone, however, is not enough to avoid the sickening feeling we get knowing that it occurs and seeing it first hand in our clinics.
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And Number 1: The Inability to Treat
In my opinion, the very toughest aspect of being a vet is having a young, mostly-healthy animal with a solvable problem- but no resources to correct the issue. The truth is, even the healthiest of animals can run into unexpected illnesses or accidents. This is the main reason I’m such a huge pet insurance enthusiast. Cat and dog insurance can often mean the different between affording care for your pet, or having to opt for euthanasia because of cost alone.
Sometimes pet illnesses and accidents can be very demanding both emotionally and financially. Repeatedly, veterinarians are in a situation where we feel we could cure a pet, but there just aren’t the funds to treat the patient. Many people don’t realize that veterinary clinics are businesses, not charities. Given the very large overhead associated with running a hospital, many clinics have very little financial wiggle-room to keep the business in positive numbers, let alone donate products and services. Too often clients enter a veterinary clinic with the expectation that regardless of what they are able to pay, their animal will receive the care it requires. As an animal lover, it is so hard to tell someone that their pet won’t receive that care. It’s even harder to watch that animal walk out the door without the medical attention it needs. These circumstances leave us with such an unsettling feeling of helplessness and sorrow. There are few things worse than knowing that a decision about life, or the quality of it, came down to money.
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