Those of us the in the veterinary industry are usually here because we love animals. As far as career choices go, there are many that offer better pay and hours, and far less physical labor and potentially risky situations. Any veterinary technician headed home at the end of a shift, with dog drool in her hair and cat fur on her scrubs, will tell you that she’s not in the job for the glamour.
While we share an undying love for our pet patients, working in a veterinary hospital can be an emotionally demanding career. Not every day is filled with successful treatment and happy endings. Sometimes caring too much can hurt, and compassion fatigue in veterinary medicine is a very real problem we deal with on a day to day basis.
Defining Compassion Fatigue in Veterinary Medicine
Our field is a noble one. Helping animals of all shapes and sizes appeals to a certain personality type. Driven, passionate, empathetic, and sometimes caring to a fault, your veterinary staff members are great people to have around.
These personality traits can have their downfalls, though. Our job, while often rewarding and fun, can have a dark side. On a daily basis we must grapple with death, suffering, and even suspected abuse in our pet patients.
Compassion fatigue in veterinary medicine is a result of our taking on the emotional burden of the sad and bad things that happen to our animal friends. It is a form of mental trauma, resulting in the dulling of the ability to feel and care for others in our lives.
Compassion fatigue can result in feelings of sadness and isolation, making those in the veterinary profession at an increased risk of suicide. It is a problem that our industry is just now coming to better understand.
At Billings Animal Family Hospital, it is important to us to give emotional support to all of our team members. That is why we do our best to provide our staff with the resources they need to avoid compassion fatigue. It also drives our efforts to provide emotional support for our beloved clients as well.
Because we experience the emotional toll of veterinary medicine on a daily basis, we are in a unique position to understand and help our clients who are dealing with sadness, grief, and loss.
- Pet grief services for those needing support
- Pet grief workshops
- A pet loss library full of helpful resources
- A listening ear for those who need one
- Resources to celebrate your pet’s life
Please reach out to us should you ever feel the need to do so, or would like more information on compassion fatigue in veterinary medicine (or any other topic).
Sometimes talking about things is good for all of us, whether we realize it or not. Together, we can do better for our pets, but also for each other.