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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2019

Authors: Springer, S; Jenner, F; Tichy, A; Grimm, H

Title: Austrian Veterinarians" Attitudes to Euthanasia in Equine Practice.

Source: Animals (Basel). 2019; 9(2): 44.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Grimm Herwig
Jenner Florien
Springer Svenja
Tichy Alexander

Vetmed Research Units
University Equine Clinic, Clinical Unit of Equine Surgery
Messerli Research Institute, Ethics and Human-Animal Studies
Platform Bioinformatics and Biostatistics

Euthanasia of companion animals is a challenging responsibility in the veterinary profession since veterinarians have to consider not only medical, but also legal, economic, emotional, social, and ethical factors in decision-making. To this end; an anonymous questionnaire-based survey of Austrian equine veterinarians examines the attitudes to the euthanasia of equine patients in a range of scenarios; to identify factors which may influence decisions on the ending of a horse's life. This paper describes the distributions of demographic and attitude variables. Mann-Whitney U tests were used to test the associations of gender, work experience, and equine workload with attitudes in relation to euthanasia statements and case scenarios. In total, 64 respondents (response rate = 23.4%) completed the questionnaire. The study showed that veterinarians consider contextual and relational factors in their decision-making. They are aware of owners' emotional bonds with their horses and financial background, however, requests for convenience euthanasia are typically rejected. Although some significant differences between the tested variables emerged, the attitudes of the veterinarians were shown to be largely shared. In conclusion, veterinarians are aware of the multiple factors that influence their decision-making and gave indications as to the weight of animal- and owner-related factors in the handling of euthanasia.

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