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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine the accuracy of pet owners, veterinary technicians, house officers (interns and residents), and attending clinicians at estimating dog weights in a veterinary emergency room.

ANIMALS

272 dogs weighing over 2 kg presenting to the emergency room between June 1 and July 29, 2022.

METHODS

Pet owners, veterinary technicians, house officers, and attending clinicians recorded the dogs’ weight estimations on individual data collection cards. Pet owners were also asked to estimate their dogs’ weight during the triage period. The dogs’ actual weights were then obtained and recorded.

RESULTS

Pet owners were more accurate than veterinary professionals at providing weight estimates for dogs. Weight estimates were accurate to within 10% of the dogs’ actual weights for 67.9% (181/267) of pet owners. Forty-one percent (112/270) of attending clinicians, 35.3% (95/269) of house officers, and 35.4% (96/271) of veterinary technicians’ weight estimates were within 10% of the dog’s actual weight. There was no difference noted in the length of veterinary experience and ability to closely estimate the patient’s weight. Overall, veterinary professionals were more likely to closely estimate the weight of large dogs compared to small dogs.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The pet owner is most likely to provide an accurate weight for dogs and questions about the dog’s weight should be directed to the client for situations in which a weight cannot be rapidly obtained.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

The veterinary profession has a unique responsibility to animals during the final stages of their lives. The veterinarian’s obligations extend to humane endings, involving all species of animals in a range of circumstances including, but not limited to, euthanasia of individually owned animals, euthanasia of animals for research purposes, depopulation of animals during emergencies, and slaughter of animals raised for food. The veterinary profession continues to improve animal welfare through advances in end-of-life decision-making and humane killing techniques, but the psychological impacts on veterinarians have not received the same level of consideration. Building on the influential AVMA Humane Endings Guideline, the AVMA recognizes that support for the mental health of veterinarians engaged in such activities needs to be a priority. This article aims to provide the foundation and rationale for improved preparation and establishment of sustainable mental health resources and to offer recommendations on pragmatic solutions to support and prepare veterinary professionals as leaders impacted by participation in humane endings–related activities. While end-of-life decision-making and implementation may present mental health challenges to veterinarians, it is crucial to recognize that there are stressors specific to each situation and that every individual’s experience is valid. Addressing the mental health issues surrounding the decision-making process and implementation of humane endings activities start with a comprehensive understanding of each activity’s unique context and the veterinarian’s leadership role. Therefore, this article highlights the psychological impact of depopulation and its similarities and exclusive challenges compared with euthanasia and humane slaughter.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association