State of the veterinary profession: Euthanasia in practice

August 22, 2016

Results from dvm360s 2015 survey shed light on how euthanasia has changed (and hasnt changed) since 2012.

Are you the type of veterinarian who feels like things are constantly changing, or constantly staying the same? In the midst of the everyday grind, it can be hard to recognize which assessment (if either) is correct.

The dvm360 State of the Profession survey offers an opportunity for orientation-a chance to see where you stand in comparison to other practices and previous years.

According the the 2015 survey, the average number of animals euthanized every month hasn't changed much since 2012, though the number of dogs has dropped from ten to nine.

Nearly three quarters of euthanasias are requested by clients rather than initially suggested by veterinarians, and out of the entire veterinary team, veterinarians are the most likely to discuss euthanasia with clients, followed by technicians and receptionists.


While 29 percent of veterinarians are asked to euthanize healthy animals several times a year, they also said that 25 percent of clients don't opt for euthanization soon enough.

When it comes to the primary reasons behind requests to euthanize healthy animals, the 2015 numbers hardly deviate from the 2012 data. Behavior problems still occupy the top slot, followed by cost, a change in family status (such as divorce), moving and allergies.


In 2012, the estimated dollar amount at which most clients would refuse or stop treatment for their pets was $1,704. In 2015, the number plummeted to $1,433-barely above 2009's amount of $1,407. However, the effect of cost on clients' decision to treat (or continue to treat) sick or injured animals has lessened, with cost limiting treatment in 40 percent of cases as opposed to 45 percent in 2012.