Helping Veterinary Clinic Staff Cope With Animal-Related Grief And Loss

Introduction to Compassion Fatigue

The relationship with the pets, along with the role of animal companions in modern society has shown a marked change in recent years. For example, today the animal pet acts as a fully accepted family member or a social partner and has an essential influence on the life of the owner. A personal string of sentiments is attached between the owner and the pet.

We are aware of the sentiments attached between a pet and its owner but do we know the extent of fatigue experienced by the veterinarians, animal techs, and humane society workers?

Certainly not!

The dreaded burnout, academically known as “compassion fatigue” is a condition that gradually reduces the compassion of the caregiver and creates secondary distress and state of suffering while continually helping people or animals.

Studies confirm that caregivers or pet loss support consultants play host to a high level of compassion fatigue, in part due to an environment that constantly present heart wrenching and emotional challenges to them. Hence, it is inevitable to avoid compassion fatigue touching the lives of the caregivers.

The veterinary community has a responsibility to enhance the human-animal bond through science and medicine and by emotionally supporting pet owners. Therefore, one of the most challenging moments for veterinarians is the time when a pet’s health and life can no longer be sustained. This establishes a dual traumatic condition for the veterinary staff where at one end is the dying pet and at the other end is the pet owner suffering from immense grief and sorrow.

Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue

However, veterinarians are robust and are trained to carry out their job and the associated duties with complete professionalism. Only seeing a traumatic situation cannot distort their compassion. Hence, it can then be quoted that there are …

Read more