Article Text

Download PDFPDF

When your duty of care extends beyond the patient to the client
  1. Emma Huntley

Statistics from

Embedded Image

Emma Huntley is a fourth-year veterinary student studying at the University of Surrey. She has a special interest in small animal surgery and hopes to pursue a career in veterinary cardiology.

The dilemma

An elderly client comes into the clinic with her seven-year-old diabetic terrier, Charlie. Charlie was on a stable dose of twice daily insulin which, up until recently, his owner has been able to manage. However, within the past year the client has started to develop dementia and now struggles to remember the last time she administered Charlie’s insulin. You note high glucose readings in both blood and urine samples, as well as increased levels of ketone. Your client mentions that Charlie has been urinating in the house and he seems uncharacteristically thin and lethargic. From the consultation it is clear that Charlie isn’t receiving the care he needs and his medication isn’t being administered properly – subsequently Charlie’s condition is deteriorating. You are concerned that Charlie is at serious risk of medical complications if the owner cannot manage his treatment. The owner, who lives alone, often refers to Charlie as her only companion. What do you advise?

Issues to consider

The key stakeholders in this scenario are the dog, the client and the vet. With regards to the owner’s attachment to Charlie, there have been numerous studies conducted that detail the various psychological …

View Full Text

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.