Suicides high among veterinarians, how they plan to combat it

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A study done by the Center for Disease Control last year, shows there’s a high rate of suicides among veterinarians.

That study also said female veterinarians were 3.5 times more likely to die from suicide than male veterinarians compared to the general population.

Dr. Peggy Callow, a vet for the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri, says there’s not just one thing that can cause a vet to choose suicide.

“Something as complicated as suicide, doesn’t have one single causative factor,” Callow said. “There can be a lot of bullying and that happens and then Facebook and social media is extremely popular right now and there’s a pretty bad problem with cyber bullying.”

There’s also a mountain of college debt that they aren’t making enough to cover it.

“Then dealing with euthanasia,” Callow said. “A vet that’s in general practice can go into a room, have to euthanize a beloved pet that they’ve taken care of its entire life, saw it from puppy, now it’s an old senior with cancer and provide humane euthanasia. But after doing that room, you have to go into another room and you have to flick a switch and be bright and happy for the bouncing little puppy and this is their new visit.”

She says there isn’t just one solution, but talking about it can help.

“We’re talking about it more and we’re starting to realize things that we can do to help out,” Callow said. “What we also need to do is educate the public that we’re not money grubbing. We don’t have a mansion we’re not driving [a] Porsche, Lamborghini, don’t have a yacht. We’re barely making ends meet.

“They say about one in six veterinarians contemplates suicide, something in our profession most people do think about it,” said Callow. “When you’re a vet, all we want to do is help and it’s hard.”

Callow says the best you can help combat the issue is to think about what you post online about your pets’ doctors.

There is also a support group for veterinarians called Not One More Vet.

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