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Austrian Veterinarians' Attitudes to Euthanasia in Equine Practice

By Svenja Springer, Florien Jenner, Alexander Tichy, Herwig Grimm

Category Journal Articles

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.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2019
Publication Title Animals
Volume 9
Issue 2
Pages 12
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ani9020044
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Austria
  3. Ethics
  4. Euthanasia
  5. Horses
  6. Mammals
  7. open access
  8. Pets and companion animals
  9. Veterinarians
  10. Veterinary medicine
  1. open access