The Savvy VetTech

Vet Tech Kept Dog; Owner Thought Was Euthanized

by Lori Hehn - March 23, 2018 at 9:03 AM
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It may seem shocking, but this is not the first time I have heard about a story like this.

What happened?

pincher-transparent.pngA woman brought her 15-year old dog to be euthanized. She dropped off the dog for the euthanasia, paid for the euthanasia, and received his collar and condolence letter from the practice. In fact, Caesar was not euthanized, but a veterinary technician took him home to live with her. 

The owner was tipped off anonymously that her dog was still alive 5 months later. The veterinarian in charge at that time has since retired and the practice is under new ownership. This left the veterinarian open to charges of theft and animal cruelty. 

The story link:  Dog taken to be euthanized found living with vet tech 5 months later

How common is this?

I knew of a clinic cat once before I went to vet school that was obtained because he was hit by a car and brought in for euthanasia as the owner could not afford surgery. Ultimately, the vet fixed decided to fix his leg and he became the new clinic cat- and the owner never knew. So, after seeing this story, my first reaction was surprise that this is not as rare of a scenario as it would seem (I found many other similar stories when researching this one).

My second reaction was frustration at the veterinarian for allowing this to occur because it ultimately affects the veterinary technician and the owner, and also the pet, in this negative and stressful way.

To be clear, if an animal is healthy with a treatable disease, it is ok to have the owner relinquish or give permission to treat/discuss other options. But it is wrong to actually charge for the euthanasia and lie to the client about it. We are compassionate people, otherwise we wouldn't be in this profession. Part of our compassion is being honest and doing the right thing by the owner and the pet. 

Moral of the Story

crew.pngThis is first and foremost the fault of the veterinarian. It is important to see that no matter how emotionally difficult euthanasia or other procedures may be, always follow your code of ethics.

Never be pressured into performing or taking part of any procedure, or in this case (non-procedure), that you know is wrong.

Honesty is always the best policy! As a veterinary unit we have to be respectful of one another and our varying opinions on sensitive matters.

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About Lori Hehn

Lori Hehn is a practicing veterinarian and a contributor and content manager with XPrep Learning Solutions. She has a drive for continual learning and enjoys interacting with veterinary and vet tech students. She also writes veterinary learning books for children.

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