The Big Pet Diabetes Survey: Perceived Frequency and Triggers for Euthanasia

Niessen, S J M and Hazuchova, K and Powney, S L and Guitian, J and Niessen, A P M and Pion, P D and Shaw, J A and Church, D B (2017) The Big Pet Diabetes Survey: Perceived Frequency and Triggers for Euthanasia. Veterinary Sciences, 4 (2). p. 27.

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Abstract

Current pet diabetes mellitus (DM) treatment necessitates the active daily involvement of owners and can be costly. The current study aimed to investigate the owner population which opts for euthanasia instead of DM treatment. A survey was designed using multiple feedback steps and made available online to veterinarians world-wide. A total of 1192 veterinarians completed the survey and suggested a median one in 10 diabetic pets are euthanased at diagnosis; a further median one in 10 within one year because of lack of success or compliance. Perceived most important motivating factors included “presence concurrent disease” (45% respondents); “costs” (44%); “animal age” (37%); “problems obtaining adequate control” (35%); “pet welfare” (35%); and “impact owner’s lifestyle” (32%). Cats in Canadian (odds ratio (OR) 2.7), Australian (OR 2.3), rural (OR 1.6) and mixed (OR 1.7) practices were more likely to be euthanased because of DM diagnosis, while cats presented to referral/university were less likely to be euthanased (OR 0.6). Dogs were more likely to be euthanased because of DM in Canadian (OR 1.8), rural (OR 1.8) and mixed (OR 1.6) practices. The survey results suggest that benefit exists in improved DM education with emphasis on offering a choice of treatment styles ranging from intense and expensive to hands-off and cheap.