Veterinarians and humane endings: When is it the right time to euthanize a companion animal?

Oliver Knesl, Benjamin Hart, Aubrey H. Fine, Leslie Cooper, Emily Patterson-Kane, Kendall Elizabeth Houlihan, Raymond Anthony

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Current advances in technologies and treatments provide pet owners and veterinarians with more options for prolonging the life of beloved pets, but can simultaneously lead to ethical dilemmas relating to what is best for both animal and owner. Key tools for improving end-of-life outcomes include (1) sufficient training to understand the valid ethical approaches to determining when euthanasia is appropriate, (2) regular training in client communication skills, and (3) a standard end-of-life protocol that includes the use of quality of life assessment tools, euthanasia consent forms, and pet owner resources for coping with the loss of a pet. Using these tools will improve outcomes for animals and their owners and reduce the heavy burden of stress and burnout currently being experienced by the veterinary profession.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number45
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - Apr 19 2017


  • Companion animal
  • Euthanasia
  • Human-animal bond
  • Humane endings
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Wellness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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