Editors' Note: "What would you do, Doc?"
In this month's issue, you'll find advice to help you better deal with these difficult decisions. In our cover article "Treat or euthanize? Helping owners make critical decisions regarding pets with behavior problems," Dr. Lore Haug says that clinicians should never make snap judgments and that dramatic changes in an animal's behavior are often possible when owners are willing to commit to a behavior modification program. In the accompanying article "Advising clinets on treating or euthanizing pets with behavior problems" featuring further guidance on this topic from our Practitioner Advisory Board members, Dr. Gary Norsworthy even suggests the possibility of making a cat that is refractory to treatment for inappropriate elimination an outdoor-only pet as a last alternative to euthanasia.
However, if the decision to euthanize because of a behavior problem is reached, Dr. Haug and the members of our Practitioner Advisory Board are clear in their advice: Clinicians should not judge the client harshly. The client—bringing all of his or her experience to the table—is just as much a part of the equation as the pet.As I matured in my profession and had children of my own (and a cat that ruined the carpet in my home), I began to empathize with clients more and more. I tried even harder to treat serious behavior problems. And my compassion for clients going through such a difficult decision grew.
I hope the information and insights in this issue will help you better address these all too common critical case decisions with your clients. And we'd love to hear your insights on this topic. Please e-mail your thoughts to us at [email protected]