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Are veterinary students required to euthanize an animal?

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by the_fella, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. the_fella


    Sep 18, 2014
    I've heard this from a couple of pre-vet students, and that's the main thing that has turned me away from veterinary school. I could never bring myself to do that.
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  3. that redhead

    that redhead Veterinarian 7+ Year Member

    Feb 26, 2010
    We do euthanize animals (under clinician supervision) at our school in the large animal rotations.

    If you can't bring yourself to euthanize an animal in vet school, I'm not sure how you will bring yourself to do so as a practicing veterinarian. If you don't think you can get on board with providing a peaceful, humane death to a deserving animal, vet med is not for you.
  4. xNoLongerFallingx


    Sep 20, 2014
    Euthanizing is a very common part of being a veterinarian. I look at it as a gift to suffering animals. You get to give them peace.
  5. Lupin21

    Lupin21 Do Not Disturb Staff Member Moderator Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Jun 21, 2012
    Behind the green curtains
    I've read your other posts, and it sounds like you want to be in the medical field in general, but have little experience anywhere. You really need to work in the different areas, especially veterinary medicine, before going willy nilly into applying. It may sound like an interesting job, but the day to day of it varies greatly from DVM, MD, DO etc. All of them have serious drawbacks, but also positives that make it worth it to the different individuals who pursue these occupations. Good luck in your pursuit, but as TRH said, vet med more than likely isn't for you if you see euthanasia as an impossible part of the job.
    that redhead likes this.
  6. the_fella


    Sep 18, 2014
    Yea, I would agree. Haha. It's probably not for me. I am interested in human medicine, so I'll probably end up going that route, assuming the medical schools cooperate. ;)
  7. Felixor90

    Felixor90 Michigan State 2019! 5+ Year Member

    Feb 28, 2011
    Lansing, MI
    The lack of rights for a human patient suffering from a painful, incurable condition to elect euthanasia is one of the reasons I personally stayed away from human medicine. But that's probably best saved for another thread. Can't like that redhead's post enough.
  8. Rwwilliams

    Rwwilliams 5+ Year Member

    Oct 3, 2012
    Hear, hear.
  9. bunnity

    bunnity Penn 2014 5+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2009
    I had quite a few patients euthanized during school. Most of the time it was done by the clinician and I was present. A couple times I did it myself. I don't think I would have been forced to if I had refused.
    As a general practice vet I do several euthanasias a week. Some types of vets may do less. ER vets do a lot more. Allowing the animal to have a pain-free and peaceful death while in the presence of their family, and allowing the family to end or avoid their pet's suffering in a compassionate environment, is an extremely important part of my job. I think some reflection on your feelings around death and euthanasia would be helpful rather than making a knee jerk decision to avoid this field. I worked in the human medical field and I saw people who died terrified and in pain and I saw people who were still alive when they wished they weren't anymore. It can be hard to wrap your mind around causing death, but I consider my role as removing suffering from the inevitable process of death.
  10. Country_roads

    Country_roads MS 2015, DVM/PhD 2019 2+ Year Member

    Jul 17, 2014
    When I first started my swine internship, I was terrified of performing euthanasia on the piglets because of the method we had to use (blunt force trauma). However, when doing checks in the morning I came across a piglet who was lateral, gasping, and had half of his face covered in scabs (of course, "masks" are typical in the industry, but when he's clearly dying it really just adds to the urgency), I knew that he needed to be euthanized right then and there. I did not feel bad afterwards, in fact quite the opposite.

    I agree that if you don't feel you can euthanize a sick animal, some soul searching needs to be done. Even being present during a euthanasia may help give you a better perspective.
    WateryTart likes this.
  11. pinkpuppy9

    pinkpuppy9 Illinois c/o 2019 2+ Year Member

    Oct 20, 2013
    I had a high-school aged girl tell me she wanted to be a vet, but just can't deal with blood. Both euthanasia and blood are unavoidable parts of veterinary medicine, and if you can't cope with either, the field is not for you. I've done a handful of euthanasias myself. The only one I declined to do was an amphibian one. I was too unfamiliar with the techniques other than hitting a vein/heart.

    I always assumed I was going to leave my first euthanasia with a heavy heart, but I was honestly relieved I could end the suffering.
    that redhead likes this.
  12. CalliopeDVM

    CalliopeDVM 7+ Year Member

    Nov 21, 2010
    Toronto, ON
    While not all veterinary jobs require a vet to perform euthanasias, those that don't (like those in public health, epidemiology, or sales) usually require clinical experience before getting those jobs -- and virtually all clinical experience will require euthanasia. So if you can't get your mind around to accepting it, I would recommend not starting down the road to become a vet. As many have said, I consider it one of the most important jobs I do as a small animal vet, and often it's the best thing I can offer to a suffering patient.
    WateryTart likes this.

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