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Is your Vet at RISK for suicide?

By Dr. Andrew Jones

From: Dr Andrew Jones
Author: Veterinary Secrets Revealed
Website: http://www.veterinarysecretsrevealed.com

Re: Is your Vet at RISK for suicide?

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Hello All- Welcome to the Weekend!

First some good news- the small seizuring Pug that had surgery
for a stuffy toy is doing well and going home today.

I am looking forward to a quiet weekend- especially after
last weeks crazy number of emergencies ( over 20 of them).

I was sent a copy of the following article on the suicide
rate in Veterinarians. In the U.K. ( and I suspect in
Canada and the U.S.) Veterinarians have the HIGHEST rate
of suicide among professionals.

Here is the article:

Veterinarian Suicide Rates Nearly Four Times the National
UK Average

BBC News announced on Oct. 5 that according to the British
Veterinary Association’s (BVA) journal, research found that
UK veterinarians’ suicide rates outstrip the national average
and are double that of doctors or dentists.

It is thought that the stress associated with putting down
numerous animals and easy access to injections puts this group
at risk. According to the BVA’s research, lethal injections
were the most common method of suicide.

The BVA is considering setting up a support system for
veterinarians in training in order to prepare future
veterinarians for the stress that awaits them in this
career field.

Professor Richard Halliwell of BVA attributes much of the
stress of being a vet to “dual problem of coping with the
animals and coping with the people, which can be very stressful.”

To deal with this stress and help vets cope, Halliwell says
that vet schools need to teach work-life balance and coping
skills from the beginning until after graduation.

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P.S. First of all don’t read into the newsletter that I am at risk
of suicide- I am one of the most laid back people I know 🙂

I always thought that dentists had the higher suicide rate.’

The moral of today’s newsletter – perhaps it is to let your
Vet know how grateful you are to have them care for your pets-
Especially those who are open to having you be an involved dog
and cat guardian.. 🙂

Feel free to make a post here….
It’s Your Pet…Heal Them At Home!

Best Wishes,

Dr Andrew Jones, DVM

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, Pet health | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Is your Vet at RISK for suicide?”


  1. Annette Says:
    May 23rd, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    I too thought it was Dentists and Psychiatrists (here in the US anyway). Perhpas that has changed.
    I can completely understand WHY it would be such
    a hard life…yes, I believe it must be
    impossible dealing with people…the ignorant things even CARING owners do, much less the intentional cruelties you must witness on a regular basis…I imagine all drs deal with death
    constantly. I absolutely LOVE animals and am fascinated by science and medicine, however (for the most part) I’m not especially fond of many humans,(not kidding), especially in regard to animals.

  2. Annette Says:
    May 23rd, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    I too thought it was Dentists and Psychiatrists (here in the US anyway). Perhpas that has changed.
    I can completely understand WHY it would be such
    a hard life…yes, I believe it must be
    impossible dealing with people…the ignorant things even CARING owners do, much less the intentional cruelties you must witness on a regular basis…

    I imagine all drs deal with death constantly, but they don’t have to administer it. And how many of those deaths could be avoided if not for the acts of senseless people. I absolutely LOVE animals and am fascinated by science and medicine, however (for the most part) I’m not especially fond of many humans,(not kidding), especially in regard to animals. Then, as you point out, there are emergencies. Since most people don’t recognize symptoms as serious in their animals, the vet generally sees them (for things other than routine) when they are already in crisis. And how many vets, even then, have owners who will refuse to pay for proper treatment. I would think vets see the very ugly side of people. A friend (a vet) that I knew years back told me there are so many that come in and say, “Oh, my little Biffy is just like family.” Yet when told that their animal needs critical care will “think about it” (not all because of financial restraints…but then again,
    provided the animal is young & otherwise healthy, to want the cheapest way out, even if that means euthanasia is NOT -hopefully- how they treat their family. We make sacrifices for those we truly love, human and animal alike. When my “babies” needed serious care (and had a good chance at recovery) I’d eat peanut butter sandwiches every other day if necessary.

    Other docs deal with emergencies on occasion, but not nearly as often. A good part of that IS because most cannot afford it…which is why they home medicate and cause further problems in many cases. I even know a very very caring woman (who deals with autistic children with love and great patience). Her cat (I was told by a trusted family member who is a neighbor of hers) was MOANING in pain for 2 weeks. When anyone asked about it she just said, “Oh, poor Pumpkin..I think she’s dying..she’s very old you know.”
    When asked why she doesn’t put her down, she said,
    “Well, I’m hoping she’ll get better. I’m just letting nature take it’s course”..
    Thank GOD our parents didn’t do that to us when we were ill!!! (

    And yes, I do see us as their parents..or at least their guardians…since Adam, we were to watch over them and befriend them! I even know WHY dogs are MAN’s BEST friend…because God created the animals BEFORE He created Eve! While Adam was still lonely for a mate of his own kind and needed Eve, I’m sure those animals shared a unique part of his heart as well. This is why I don’t trust people who don’t like animals…and esp. men who don’t like cats. To me, a man who doesn’t like cats is insecure in being a man. A cat doesn’t look down on us, they just bring to light whatever is truly inside of us…kind of like little (psyco-haha)therapists!.

  3. Jessica Faye Harrison, RN, DVM Says:
    May 24th, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Dear Dr. Jones:
    RE:Is your Vet ar Risk for Suicide?

    I was interested to see your posting about statistics for suicide among vets in the UK.
    In the US, the official agency which compiles vital statistics, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),does report that the overall suicide rate is higher for health professionals than for the general public. They state that suicide statistics, as a whole, may be distorted by inexact reporting of cause of death; that access to lethal drugs by health professionals
    increases the risk of carrying out suicide successfully; and that health care professionls may be less likely to seek treatment for mental disturbances leading to suicide than many other groups.
    As a result, those of us in health care professions should be vigilant for the welfare of our colleagues; encouraging work-life balance and appropriate stress-managing behaviors can go a long way in reducing the risk of self-inflicted harm.

  4. Christine Says:
    June 5th, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    After reading this, I visited my vet that very afternoon to tell him how much he is appreciated, and reminded his staff to let him know what a wonderful person he is. He is one of the kindest, gentlest souls I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing (been with him for close to twenty years); every one of my family members gets his undivided attention.

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