When most think of veterinarians, they may remember the smiling face that greets your pup or feline at the door; the person who goes above and beyond to save your child’s beloved pet.
Tragically, though, many do not know that the seventy-seven thousand veterinarians in the U.S. are also faced with disproportionately high suicide rates, according to a study conducted by the CDC.
“It’s not all puppies and kittens and wonderful experiences. There’s a lot of pain involved,” said Dr. Nicole McArthur, a veterinarian from Rocklin, California.
In analyzing over eleven thousand veterinarian death records, CDC officials found that between 1979 and 2015, nearly four hundred veterinarians took their own life.
Female veterinarians are also three and a half times more likely to die by suicide than citizens of the general population.
And even though people in medical professions have long been known to suffer from higher rates of suicide, veterinarians are forced to deal with an extremely unique set of challenges that can consistently drain mental health.
For example, unlike humans, their patients are unable to talk and explain what is wrong. And even though this might sound similar to what pediatricians face daily, veterinarians’ treatment options are much more limited.
In fact, even if their patient can be treated, veterinarians are often forced to euthanize them anyway simply because caretakers cannot afford the often costly procedures.
And on top of that, veterinarians also often have to deal with being vilified by pet owners.