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Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2011 May;41(3):651-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2011.03.005. Epub 2011 Apr 20.

Euthanasia, moral stress, and chronic illness in veterinary medicine.

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Department of Philosophy, Colorado State University, 240 Eddy Hall, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1781, USA.


Euthanasia is a double-edged sword in veterinary medicine. It is a powerful and ultimately the most powerful tool for ending the pain and suffering. Demand for its use for client convenience is morally reprehensible and creates major moral stress for ethically conscious practitioners. But equally reprehensible and stressful to veterinarians is the failure to use it when an animal faces only misery, pain, distress, and suffering. Finding the correct path through this minefield may well be the most important ethical task facing the conscientious veterinarian.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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