Posts by Kathleen Cooney

Euthanasia the 2nd Most Common Procedure in Vet Med?

We all know euthanasia is a necessary part of veterinary medicine.  It is an ever present procedure to be called upon when suffering is assured and when the burden of care outweighs our resources (physical, mental, financial, spiritual).  As Dr. Frank McMillan once spoke about, administering euthanasia solution is the ultimate palliative treatment that eliminates…

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Dysthanasia

A Newer Meaning to a Relatively New Word I’m guessing that if you’ve been practicing veterinary medicine long enough, you’ve had the misfortune of witnessing a euthanasia gone wrong. You may be the unfortunate one who facilitated it. Such a euthanasia rattles us, hijacks our thoughts, and forces us to relive it over and over.…

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Useful Phrases to Lend Support

Since 2006, I’ve built up a large library of useful phrases and sentiments to share with clients during euthanasia appointments. Knowing the exact time to offer them can be challenging, especially since you won’t know the full context of the situation until you are engaged in it, but take a moment and picture yourself with…

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Veterinary Technicians in Euthanasia Work; Encouragement

Could our profession be utilizing highly skilled and empathetic veterinary technicians/nurses to perform companion animal euthanasia rather than us relying mostly on veterinarians?  Around 20% of US states allow vet techs to do so with direct veterinary supervision, meaning the veterinarian is on site and overseeing the euthanasia procedure.  This is an important step to…

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A Pet’s Home Burial

As the days warm, pet owners who’ve lost a pet tend to contemplate the option of home burial.  There is no set figure on how many people choose backyard burial over pet cremation or pet cemetery burial, but the number is likely very high. Handling things themselves increases their ability to design the event to…

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COVID-19 and Home Euthanasia; Suggested tips to reduce exposure

The following are suggested tips to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission during home euthanasia work. Note these have not been reviewed by health officials and you are encouraged to adhere to local ordinances as well as your own scientific understanding of disease mitigation. When in doubt, follow your instinct, keeping safety at the forefront…

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Emotionally Intelligent Euthanasia (EIE)

Emotionally Intelligent Euthanasia A veterinary student recently shadowed me for a week to learn how I cope with the emotional strain of euthanasia-centric work.  Her backstory was filled with highly sensitive post-euthanasia episodes, wherein she needed to cry; intense crying for upwards of 15 minutes.  It was deeply affecting the rest of her day and…

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Euthanasia Protocol Change Takes a Euthanasia Action Plan

Have you ever gone to an educational conference and learned so much you didn’t know where to start? It’s easy to get overwhelmed with information and then struggle implementing it in your daily work. The ideas you heard were wonderful, useful, and potential game changers for your team and your patients. It’s essential to act…

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Resisting Complacency in Euthanasia Work

A colleague told me recently how frustrated she was when a client verbally lashed out at her following a dysthanasia (bad death experience). The client was upset with the dog’s negative reaction to the pre-euthanasia sedation injection and the vet’s apparent ‘non chalant’ attitude to the dog’s distress. Wanting to get the bigger picture, I…

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A Guide to Intracardiac Injections by Dr. AJ Smith

The intracardiac injection as a euthanasia technique in animals has been utilized since the early 20th century. The heart is a central vascular pump able to move euthanasia drugs effectively up to the brain, where many anesthetics like the barbiturates impart their actions. While perceived by many as objectionable to watch, the art of administering…

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