Comments on the dilemma in the July/August issue: ‘Honesty and euthanasia’

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The dilemma in the July/August issue concerned a client who wanted her dog to be euthanased; it had bitten several people and was required to wear a muzzle in public. The situation was complicated by the owner's teenage son, who strongly opposed ending his pet's life. You noticed a possible infected neoplasm on the dog's leg and the owner suggested convincing her son that the dog had to be put down because of the ‘incurable cancer’ (In Practice, July/August 2013, volume 35, pages 422-423). Peter Fordyce proposed that the best way forward might be to go through with the euthanasia. Not only had previous behavioural modification failed but the owner would likely seek out a different vet if you refused. He argued that prolonging the situation would probably bring further physical, psychological and legal risk to the family. While the vet should not lie to the son directly, it might be acceptable to go along with the deception if it came from the mother, for the greater good of the family's harmony.

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