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https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/suicides-among-veterinarians-has-become-a-growing-problem/2019/01/18/0f58df7a-f35b-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html

An interesting and sad article with an apricot toy poodle pulling a vet from the brink. I did know how hard it is to get into vet school, actually harder than med school because there are fewer of them in the US. I have noticed, happily, how many more women are in the field. I can see how the proximity to euthanasia drugs could coincide with despair with a tragic outcome. Also how cumulative euthanasia tasks and difficult clients could emotionally bankrupt a vet. Maybe it’s healthier for vets to join practices so that they can have necessary breaks and a support system.
 

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Sad to read, but wonderful how she looked at her poodle and realized she couldn't explain her suicide to her dog.
 

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Thank you for sharing, Mfmst. So heartbreaking, but I'm glad the awareness is getting out there as a first step. I still get so sad when I think about Sophia Yin :( One of my heroes of the dog world.
 

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Thank you for sharing, Mfmst. So heartbreaking, but I'm glad the awareness is getting out there as a first step. I still get so sad when I think about Sophia Yin :( One of my heroes of the dog world.
Yes, I immediately thought of her when I saw this posted. So sad.
 

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Buck’s first trainer had worked for Dr. Yin at several conferences. She was heartbroken to hear the news of her suicide. She recalled a conference morning, where she was just heading out for coffee and saw Dr. Yin completing a morning run. I hope vet schools or continuing education in the profession discuss this danger. I remember breaking down in tears, when an oncologist told us our last dog had cancer. That must be hard to watch over and over.
 

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Since I toyed with going into vet school for a while - two high school buddies of mine did - but then backed out when I analyzed the realties of the job. My two high school besties both finished and started their own practices. One gave up after 5 years for what can only be described as burnout. She went back to school and now works as a physical therapist (for people). The other is counting the years until she can retire. Both had small animal practices and described the most frustrating thing to be: People bring dog/cat to vet finally usually way too late - vet gives advice/medicine etc - nothing is put into action - dog/cat comes back sicker - in an endless cycle that robs them of any joy in the job. Also the number of cases of neglect or outright abuse. I think lots of people go into the profession for the wrong reason. Love of animals is most certainly not the right reason to become a vet. Trying to "help animals" neither. You have to be a very specific kind of person with the right temperament to survive and thrive in that job.
 

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I have over the years had a number of personal relationships with veterinarians other than those in the practice we go to. They have a tough set of circumstances to deal with. Aside from debt, the costs of setting up a new practice or buying one from a vet who is retiring are staggering. Many vets just want to do their work without having to be business people as well.

Separately one of their biggest complaints in their work is when people bring pets that are emaciated who say the animal just stopped eating a couple of days ago or pets with huge obvious malignant tumors and say they just noticed the lump a day or two ago. In other words they find it horribly frustrating when "we" lie to them and in so doing have delayed seeking care for so long that there is now no meaningful care to give.

In the practice we use I see some of the support systems discussed a bit above. There is the main vet/owner (Dr. P., a poodle guy) who was an employee of the original practice founder for years until he retired. There are two vets who have worked there for years. One arrived as a young vet. The other started working there in high school as a kennel assistant. When the current owner retires one or both of them will surely take over the practice. Their technicians and front desk staff is very stable too. They know each other well and care for and support each other through thick and thin. When Dr. P. was laid low for months with Lyme disease two years ago the others kept things pretty seamless even though it meant they worked more days and longer hours.
 
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I read a not very good book, titled “Cute Poodles, Sweet Old Ladies & Hugs” by Dr. P.J. Miller. Dr. Miller was lucky to be accepted at the University of Scotland. There was no way, with his undergraduate grades, a smattering of B’s, that he would have been admitted to a U.S. program. He found communicating with some of his patients to be a trial, second guessing his diagnosis, wanting to try natural remedies. What struck me was how difficult it was to get time away, even a few days for continuing education. That entailed finding and then trusting a temporary vet not to ruin his practice. Not an easy life for someone with a young family.
 
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