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Home » Archive » 2020

TDK conference 2020

A cross-cultural survey of veterinarians’ attitudes towards small animal euthanasia
Kabboush Helen - year 6
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Veterinary Forensics, Law and Economics
Supervisor: Dr Szilvia Vetter

Abstract:

Euthanasia which literally translates to “good death” from Greek has been a part of the veterinary profession for many years. The procedure is carried out to provide the animal with a painless death preventing any further suffering. However, veterinarians usually choose the profession to save lives rather than end them. Additionally, in practice the guidelines of when euthanasia is advisable are not clear since it is a subjective rather than objective matter. Therefore, euthanasia is one of the most frequently mentioned ethical dilemmas facing small animal veterinarians.

This cross-cultural study compares the attitudes of veterinarians towards small animal euthanasia in Hungary, Sweden and Jordan by utilizing an online questionnaire. The aim of the study was to gain a valuable insight into how the attitudes of small animal veterinarians from the three countries towards euthanasia differ. This included assessing the number of euthanasia performed, the most common reason for euthanasia and participants’ agreement or disagreement to euthanize in four different clinical scenarios. Further on, asking about the ethical burden felt (1= lowest, 7= highest), whether university prepared them for euthanasia and what kind of help they have or need.

In total, 278 veterinarians filled out the questionnaire from the three countries; 93 from Hungary, 145 from Sweden and 40 from Jordan. The responses were analysed according to the question by either calculating response percentages and/or mean, mode and standard deviation. The attitudes towards euthanasia noticeably varied between the three countries. In general, in Sweden the majority performed 6-10 euthanasia per month, while most veterinarians in Hungary and Jordan performed 1-5 euthanasia per month. Sweden had the highest mean agreement to euthanize in the clinical scenarios followed by Hungary while Jordan had the lowest mean agreement. The majority in Jordan rated the ethical burden as highest (7/7), in Hungary the majority rated the burden as (6/7) while the majority in Sweden had a lower rating (2/7). The most common reason for euthanasia in all three countries was untreatable condition. Most veterinarians in all three countries felt that their university did not prepare them for euthanasia. Additionally, from the entire sample colleagues were the most common answer to deal with the burden of euthanasia while workplace/employers were the most common answer to whom support is needed from.



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