Situations Where You Need a Veterinary Social Worker

July 14, 2018

Why would a social worker be helpful in your veterinary practice?

"Why would a social worker be helpful?" Sandra Brackenridge, LCSW, a veterinary social work consultant, explains several situations where a veterinary social worker should be involved.

"You mentioned the client can't afford it—yes, in those situations almost always. In those situations, the client may feel guilt because they cannot afford it, and the staff may feel lots of moral distress because the client can't afford it and they may resent the client. So, both parties—clients and staff in that kind of situation—is needed by the social worker.

In that situation, a situation where either the animal appears to have been abused or the person says the animal is abused and she or he has been being abused by the perpetrator, as well, the social worker needs to be involved in those. Another situation would be the client has multiple disabilities or maybe even just a mental disability for which the animal is an emotional support animal or a service animal. Those relationships are very intense and dependent, and then a social worker would need to be involved. Another situation would be there are children involved, and the owners do not know how to explain to the children that they may need to euthanize this pet. I could go on and on, but another situation would be the client is an elderly man who is 84 years old and has cancer himself and his animal has died."