Are vets too quick to euthanize

 Hello, to our harmonious readers. Over the years, our animals have inflicted huge amounts of distress, anxiety, and grief when they have fallen ill or are injured.

Like many, we have turned to our nearest veterinary clinic for knowledge and assistance. We automatically assume that they are pro-life and will do everything possible to save our beloved animals. But what if that wasn’t the case. A vet isn’t as emotionally invested in our pets like we are, and so perhaps it is less hassle and easier to cut the lifeline rather than treat the ailment. Has the nature and financial aspect of the job numbed our vets towards the decision to end a life?

3 years ago, our cat (Duchess), who was 3 years old, had a lump on her stomach. We took her to our veterinary clinic. The vet examined the lump to determine if it was an abscess. Unfortunately, the lump was filled with blood, not pus, which alluded to something more severe. So, on the advice of our vet, Duchess was booked in for surgery.

When Duchess came out of surgery, we received a call from the vet stating that the surgery went well. However, the vet was affirmative that the lump was cancerous and had probably spread from somewhere else. We were then asked if we wanted to have Duchess put down as the vet believed it was the kindest thing to do. I feel that the vet should have given us other options for ongoing treatment rather than having her put down then and there.

Anyway, we point blanked refused euthanasia as an option, especially as a first option considering that the contents of the lump hadn’t correctly been tested. The vet had only examined the lump under her own microscope, and it still needed to be sent off for further testing to get a correct diagnosis.

On top of that, as Duchess is a very growly cat, when we came to collect her, the vet’s assistance asked if she was feral and perhaps it would be best to put her down. With that, we quickly got hold of our grumpy cat and ran out of the clinic like lightning.

A few days past and the vet phoned to inform us that the lump was non-cancerous but some type of infection. The lump required further testing to determine the type of infection.

Another week went by when the vet called again to say that Duchess had Feline Tuberculosis and to visit the veterinary clinic for more details. We didn’t know what Feline TB was, so we googled it and were mortified to learn that it was highly deadly and contagious. We would need to quarantine and potentially have all our animals, including cows, cats, and dog euthanized. WHAT THE HELL!

We were gobsmacked and furious. How could the vet so casually tell us that we essentially had an outbreak and we’re all screwed? Even though cases of Feline TB in Australia were slim to none.

 Yet again, we were back at the veterinary clinic desperately needing answers. The vet wandered out and calmly told us that Duchess actually had Leprosy. She called it Feline TB because she thought it sounded better. Again WHAT? Feline TB and Leprosy are 2 separate illnesses.

We were given some antibiotics and sent on our way. We are still not convinced that Duchess had Leprosy. Something doesn’t seem right about the diagnosis.  Anyway, thankfully, that was 3 years ago, and Duchess is still with us, healthy and as grumpy as ever.

Thank God we didn’t let the vet put her down.


Furthermore, over the years, Jasmine and I raised many calves and assisted in many births. We have had to pull calves out of labouring cows. When problems have arisen, we have taken care of most issues before calling a vet. Although, when we did require the assistance of a vet, they weren’t always as willing to provide care for the bigger animals as they were for the smaller animals.

Some of our vets seemed reluctant to treat our cow’s medical issues and give them a fighting chance. I recently lost my beautiful dairy cow (Wendy). She had been labouring for a few hours with no progress. I brought her into the shed, where I could keep a closer eye on her. However, as it got later into the night and with no improvement, I knew she needed our help. So I reached in, located the calf’s front legs and tied a rope to each. With the rope connected to the calf pullers, we were able to start pulling the calf out.

Unfortunately, I made a huge mistake by not feeling for the calf’s head. It was quite late, and I was exhausted. I just didn’t think to check where the head was. Usually, the head follows the leg, but not this time. Unfortunately, the calf’s head was bent backwards and stuck in the pelvic bone. This happened long before we came to help, but pulling only made it worse.

Yet again, we were in uncharted waters. So we called our nearest vet, who drove out to our property and tried to locate the calf’s head to no avail. We were then informed that the calf was definitely dead.

We still had Wendy to save, who had fallen to the ground and couldn’t get back up. The vet told us that if Wendy didn’t get back up by the morning, she would have to be euthanized.

The vet gave Wendy some medication and left her in the holding area with her calf’s legs still sticking out of her. After a while, with the calf still pressing on Wendy’s nerves, she started to lose feeling in her hind legs, and paralysis began to set in.

The next morning, Wendy was still unable to get back up. The vet returned and advised us to have Wendy euthanized. 

I enquired about cutting the calf up in the vaginal vault and removing it so that it wouldn’t be pushing on Wendy’s back nerves. But, unfortunately, the vet wasn’t for this as she felt that it would further damage Wendy’s nerves. But if death was the only other option, why not try to get the calf out and give Wendy the chance to recover.

Alas, my poor beautiful girl was put to sleep. I regret it deeply. What was I thinking? I should have checked for the head before pulling.

I raised her from 2 days old, she became part of the family. I should have stood up for her and fought for her life. She deserved that, and I feel that I have failed her.

While I am not against the work of vets. They are a necessity, especially when you live on a farm. I know that they make mistakes like everyone else and sometimes they don’t always share the same goal as you to save your animal.

Animals don’t have a voice, so you need to be their voice. If you are unsure about a diagnosis for your pet, get a second opinion. Euthanasia should always be the last option. But, most importantly, fight for them. Nobody will love your pet like you do.

Our beloved Wendy


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