Veterinary Technician

by Dom
(MA)

Hi, although I have not recently lost a pet I would like some advice. I have been through two years of school and I have recently been hired as a Veterinary Technician. Although we are taught the process of euthanasia, they do not teach us how to deal with the emotional loss of the pet. I usually have to go in the room before an animal is euthanized and place the catheter into the vein. I'm not always sure what to say to the owner. Has anyone said something to you that was comforting that helped you through the difficult time?

Comments for Veterinary Technician

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Jan 24, 2014
Crossing that rainbow bridge
by: Anonymous

I shadowed today at a clinic and the owners of a beautiful boxer came in and decided it was time to euthanize their baby. They decided they just couldn't be there for it so I took her in my lap and loved on her until the very end and long afterwards. I cried my eyes out and as I'm writing this am still crying. Even though as a vet tech I shouldn't be so soft, I couldn't help but be emotional. I gave their beloved pet as much love as I would have given my own dog. I guess that's why I'm going to school for this field. I wish the staff at the office I had my boxer put to sleep at would have shown some more emotion than the hard looks on their faces as the gave that last injection to my dog. They almost didn't seem human to me. Please don't let the euthanasia turn you hard and stoic, stay real and give the client a hug if that's what you need to do.....they will appreciate it long after the day is over.

Aug 28, 2012
Words Aren't Important
by: Patricia

Dom, my kitty Jericho was put to sleep just a week ago. With me, what mattered was not so much what the vet said, as how gentle and loving they were to me and my pet. They hugged me, held my hand, the vet assured me that I was doing the right thing for Jericho, and she shed some tears too. She had, after all, been my kitty's vet for 15 years, so she was in an emotional state of mind losing him too. She stroked Jericho, whispered loving words, and treated him so gently. I may forget some of the words she spoke that day, but I will never forget the kindness and loving concern she showed for both me and my kitty.

Aug 24, 2012
I know it's not easy
by: Anonymous

I'm one of those pet owners who have, unfortunately, seen far too many of her beloved pets put to sleep. Even wrapped up in my grief during the procedure I am aware that it must be difficult for the technician and the veterinarian. You're dealing with an emotional owner who may not always respond well to what is going on.

Really all I can say, from personal experience, is that showing kindness and compassion is the best thing you can do. Let the owner know you sympathize, that you know this isn't easy for them, and most importantly don't rush them but let them have as much time as they need to say their goodbye before ending the pet's life. It's the last time we'll ever be with them in this world, and it's a painful, difficult parting for many of us. Even when we know it's the right thing to do, we deep in our hearts wish we didn't have to.

Aug 14, 2012
Losing a well-loved pet
by: Marji

I've lost more pets than I like to think about, but our dog Bup (Butterscotch) was the hardest. He was in such pain from arthritis, and finally we had to have the vet euthanize him.

The vet and staff were SO great to us...give us a blanket to spread out on the lawn and helpedus get Bup comfortable. The staff gave Bup an injection so he was not in such pain and we were able to pet him,hug him,cry and say our goodbyes before the final shot. Even as I write this the tears are flowing; this was over 20 years ago.

I know in today's world this is probably unlikely, but it made it so much more bearable.

Just say what feels natural--the owners will understand.

Aug 10, 2012
Veterinary Technician
by: Doreen U.K.

Dom I don't have any experience so as to advise you. A pet has a life just like we do. A relationship with a pet can sometimes be more special than a relationship with a family member or friend. The pain and grief of a loss is so very painfull that many people avoid being around someone with a loss because it makes them feel awkward and uncomfortable by not knowing what to say. Just be yourself. Don't try to say something because you think you have to. This is the mistake many people make. "WHAT SHOULD I SAY?" "WHAT DO I DO?" Even just sitting with that person in deep silence says much much more than words could ever say. Showing people you care. Being thoughtfull in whatever way you think. Each situation will be different. You will gain experience and know what to do in time. No person has all the answers. You learn through life. The key is to say nothing when you don't know what to say. That way you avoid saying the wrong thing. You won't need to feel guilty over it. Your presence will speak volumes. Best wishes.

Aug 09, 2012
Be Yourself
by: Anonymous

Hi Dom,
I was a veterinary technician for 10 years and I know only to well what you will be dealing with. Euthanasia of a pet is just as hard as loosing any other family member to most people. Just be yourself and treat the pet owners as you would want to be treated in the same situation. I don't think there are any magic words for this situation, unfortunately.
I usually found it helpful to help them remember the good times with their beloved pet. You will find that your emotions get involved as well, especially if this has been a long term client. Don't be afraid to let your emotions show. I have found that showing my tears during a euthanasia made the client feel more comfortable about expressing their emotions.
It's not an easy job, this is part of the life cycle. Always remember to show compassion and caring and you will do fine.
Good Luck!

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