Oct. 3, 2022

What Is Futile Care in Veterinary Medicine? | Dr. Nathan Peterson #186

What Is Futile Care in Veterinary Medicine? | Dr. Nathan Peterson #186

Dog cancer treatment decisions are rarely easy. And they can be as hard on veterinarians as they are on owners.


Researchers from Cornell University surveyed over 400 veterinarians, and 99% of them said they have experienced clients wanting to pursue futile care for their pets. So what is futile care, anyway?

Futile care is continuing aggressive treatment when it is unlikely to benefit the patient. These scenarios can be difficult to identify and define, but can be distressing for veterinarians who are compelled to provide care that they feel is prolonging suffering in their patients.

Listen in to learn more about the challenges of balancing the needs and emotions of dogs, their owners, and their veterinarians. And if you feel like you might have pursued futile care with one of your pets when hospice would have been more appropriate, don’t be too hard on yourself: all of your decisions were made out of love.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Show:

Medical futility is commonly encountered in small animal clinical practice study

Dog Cancer Support

Related Links:

Futile veterinary care is widespread, study finds

The Other Side of the Exam Table podcast episode

About Today’s Guest, Dr. Nathan Peterson:

Dr. Peterson is an Associate Clinical Professor of Emergency and Critical Care at Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine and is a Master of Bioethics at Harvard Center for Bioethics. Prior to joining Cornell, Dr. Peterson practiced for 10 years at a large referral hospital in Los Angeles. He is passionate about teaching and has a strong interest in the ethics of critical care in veterinary medicine including futile care, moral distress and resource allocation.

LinkedIn

Other Links:

To join the private Facebook group for readers of Dr. Dressler’s book “The Dog Cancer Survival Guide,” go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/dogcancersupport/ 

Dog Cancer Answers is a Maui Media production in association with Dog Podcast Network

This episode is sponsored by the best-selling animal health book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity by Dr. Demian Dressler and Dr. Susan Ettinger. Available everywhere fine books are sold.

Have a guest you think would be great for our show? Contact our producers at DogCancerAnswers.com

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Nathan Peterson, DVM, DACVECC Profile Photo

Nathan Peterson, DVM, DACVECC

Dr. Peterson is an Associate Clinical Professor of Emergency and Critical Care at Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine and is a Master of Bioethics at Harvard Center for Bioethics. Prior to joining Cornell, Dr. Peterson practiced for 10 years at a large referral hospital in Los Angeles. He is passionate about teaching and has a strong interest in the ethics of critical care in veterinary medicine including futile care, moral distress and resource allocation.