Reporting Back on Your Help

Back in March we asked for your help with an anonymous opinion poll about our suggestions regarding the experiences which we would like to expect from our veterinary practices when, as cat owners, we are faced with that heartbreaking visit to the surgery which culminates in an ‘end of life’ decision for our much-loved feline family member.

We were staggered by how many of you helped us by completing the poll, and we would like to thank you all for taking the time to do so.  We are truly grateful for your help.

Additionally, we were amazed by the number of you (vets, vet nurses and cat owners) who took the trouble to email us with their views and stories). Thank you !

97 per cent of respondents agreed with our suggestions, but we were asked by many of you why we had not included reference to home visits from vets for this task, and it is proper that we let you all know how we have responded to these questions.

We did indeed give it considerable thought before deciding not to mention it, and there was a wide range of reasons.

We need to appreciate that, until Brexit, we had over 1,000 vets coming from EU countries every year, but that number has now reduced considerably. For example, there were just 364 in 2021.

The Covid backlog and Brexit barriers have together led to a serious shortage of vets in the UK.

During Covid small animal vets were faced with numerous restrictions on their activities, and this lasted for many months. This resulted in a huge backlog of treatments when life returned to normal. The resultant strain on vets was phenomenal and many left the profession as a result.

Hence it is sometimes the case that we make that telephone call for a home euthanasia visit at a time when our vet is busy treating other patients, and simply cannot leave the surgery. Obviously we are all able to ask if there is another surgery which might be able to help, but that other surgery is not obliged to visit us. So what do we do ?

It is important for us to remember that our pets are ultimately OUR responsibility, so therefore it is sensible for us to have ‘contingency’ plans for this situation.

All over the Country there are mobile vets who do nothing other than euthanasia. We might not know them, but if it is a choice between relieving the pain which our feline companion is suffering or prolonging it, then I am pretty confident what those who have registered for our newsletters will do. Perhaps now is the time to find out which mobile vets are nearest to us, and put a note of their telephone numbers near to the telephone – so that we are at least ‘prepared’ for this heart-breaking emergency.

May we also suggest that you keep a record of your cat’s health to hand. This would be invaluable to a mobile vet, particularly if your cat has been suffering from a long term illness.

Nothing which we have said above should deter you (nor should it) from making that first call to your own vet.

Caroline Fawcett