Vets want to help your pet – and you – but death threats aren’t good for anyone’s health | Claire Cannon

Dealing with animals is the easy part, it’s clients taking out their stress and fear on me and my co-workers that make it so hard for us to do our job

I’ve been a vet for 18 years, and I hope you never have to bring your pet to see me. I’m an oncologist, so all my patients have cancer. It’s a tough time for families – often tougher on them than their pet. Your dog doesn’t know they have cancer and we’re having difficult conversations about surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, palliative care. Your cat doesn’t know we’re discussing how long they might have left to live. Your guinea pig doesn’t know I’m recommending amputating their leg (the guinea pig went on to live a full happy life with three legs).

I used to say I went into veterinary, instead of human, medicine because I loved the science but didn’t want to deal with people. What I had clearly failed to consider is that, for most vets, not dealing with people is not an option. Sometimes I look at specialties like pathology, anaesthesia, and radiology, where you rarely talk to clients, and wonder how I ended up in oncology where “talking to clients” is most of my job.

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Category: Mental Health