Dealing with the client who wishes to take their hyperthyroid ferret home to die naturally

01 Jun 2020

Au, C.

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The dilemma

You are a vet in an exotic animal hospital. Snow, a 12-year-old female ferret, has been booked in for collapse and possible euthanasia. She has a long history of hyperadrenocorticism and has relapsed after a previous deslorelin injection. For the past few days she has been mainly sleeping and is bradycardic and hypopneic on presentation. Upon arrival, the client requests delaying euthanasia so that they can spend more time with Snow and possibly let her die naturally at home. As the veterinary surgeon with a duty of care, what should you do?

Issues to consider

The main conflict in this scenario exists between the client’s wishes and the patient’s welfare. The RCVS Code of Professional Conduct states: ‘The veterinary surgeon’s primary obligation is to relieve the suffering of an animal, but account must be taken not only of the animal’s condition, but also the owner’s...