Wednesday, September 21, 2016

When a patient dies - do people know?

We had a very emotional week at Warren Woods Veterinary Hospital.  Multiple difficult cases, emergencies and the unfortunate death of an employee's pet leaves us all asking why?  Why do we do this job that is so difficult that we often spend our evenings sleepless with worry.  Sleepless about a sick patient, or what we could have done differently to save a beloved pet.

One incident that occurred this week happened during a small mammal surgery, when one of my most experienced technicians scheduled her pet rat for a routine surgical procedure. Together with one of our excellent doctors, they performed the routine procedure that went very well until the rat was recovering from the anesthesia.  For no apparent reason he suddenly arrested.  They worked and worked to try to get him back but they were unsuccessful.   The technician and doctor were distraught.   How could this happen so fast and why?    

When I heard what had happened,  I went to console and hug my technician who then looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "Do people know how hard this is on us?   Do they know that we go home and cry and often lose sleep over their pets?"  "You should write a blog about this so people can know."

Working in a busy small animal, avian and exotic practice sets us up for extra difficulty.  Exotic pets are much more sensitive to disease, anesthesia, malnutrition and other health conditions.  Some times the pets get to us when it is too late for us to save them.  When we lose a pet their owners can become angry as they go through the stages of grief and lash out at those of us that are there to try to help them.  This all leads to increased stress that can ultimately lead to depression and burn out.

We want our clients to know that we really do care about all of the patients and even though we look happy when you bring us your healthy pet, we may have just been through something very upsetting and difficult.  We do love our jobs,  and have our fair share of fun puppies and kittens to cheer us up, but sometimes we may just really need a hug.

So please treat your veterinarian, veterinary technician, animal assistant and receptionist with care and love, because they suffer right along with you when things are going badly and they work long hard hours to be there for you and your pet in your time of need.


  1. Thank you for all you do.You are all superstars in my book. I couldn't have found a better place to take my beloved pets for care.