Ethical dilemmas in clinical practice: a perspective on the results of an electronic survey of veterinary anaesthetists.


Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. Electronic address: [Email]


Medical progress has greatly advanced our ability to manage animals with critical and terminal diseases. We now have the ability to sustain life even in the most dire of circumstances. However, the preservation of life may not be synonymous with providing 'quality of life', and worse, could cause unnecessary suffering. Using the results of an electronic survey, we aim to outline and give examples of ethical dilemmas faced by veterinary anaesthetists dealing with critically ill animals, how the impact of these dilemmas could be mitigated, and what thought processes underlie decision-making in such situations.


anaesthesia,animal welfare,ethical dilemma,intensive care,suffering,