Economic Euthanasia is a Significant Contributor to Veterinary Burnout – Galaxy Vets’ Study

While the burnout rate and the number of pets that were euthanized were unrelated, burnout was significantly linked to the percentage of economic euthanasias

VANCOUVER, Wash., March 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Galaxy Vets, an employee-owned veterinary healthcare system, released findings from its third annual burnout survey assessing the state of mental well-being in the veterinary profession and capturing insights that can help systemically address burnout. The survey included open-ended questions to gather even more opinions from the industry. It collected diverse voices from 1942 veterinary professionals in different roles and practice settings. Below is the study summary; the full whitepaper is available at

The study looked into the economic welfare and compensation satisfaction of veterinary professionals and how financial freedom relates to burnout. It analyzed the influence of feedback and support culture on the emotional well-being of employees, and what kind of work arrangements veterinary professionals would value the most. Finally, the study investigated how euthanasia procedures correlate with burnout, especially when they are performed for economic reasons. A separate section in the whitepaper discusses feedback and ideas on how employers could improve staff experience based on the input from the survey participants. Recommendations and takeaways conclude the study.

Economic euthanasia is a significant contributor to burnout
The study explored the relationship between burnout and euthanasia. On average, respondents reported euthanizing 17 pets per month. 20% of those cases were due to clients not being able to afford treatment. While the burnout rate and the number of pets that were euthanized were unrelated, burnout was significantly linked to the percentage of economic euthanasias. Specifically, staff who regularly performed euthanasia for clients who could not afford to continue taking care of their pets reported higher burnout than staff who performed fewer cases of economic euthanasia.

This particular finding enhances existing research on drivers of burnout among veterinary staff and the potential mental toll that euthanasia can have on the veterinary team in cases when there is a viable medical alternative. Dr. Ivan Zak, the researcher and Galaxy Vets CEO, commented: “Improving access to veterinary care will play a critical role in preventing those traumatic experiences for pet owners and healthcare teams. Both are fundamental problems that we are trying to solve at Galaxy Vets.”

On-call veterinary professionals are more burned-out
Almost every third respondent was required to be available at least five weeknights/weekends per month. Regardless of whether one was on call a few days a week or on most days, those who worked on call reported higher burnout rates than professionals who were not. This finding suggests room for incorporating teletriage services – either by forming a virtual care team from existing employees, or partnering with a third-party provider – to reduce workload for on-call doctors and alleviate some of their burnout.

Key findings summary

  • Burnout returned to pre-pandemic level
  • Practice managers, CSRs, assistants and technicians report highest burnout rates
  • Women and less-experienced veterinary professionals report highest burnout
  • Professional fulfillment index was lowest for CSRs across all years
  • Professionals who feel less financially stable reported higher burnout
  • On-call veterinary professionals are more burned-out
  • Lack of feedback and support culture has a correlation with burnout
  • Preference for remote and hybrid work arrangements is on the rise
  • Economic euthanasia is a significant contributor to burnout

Download the full report:

About Galaxy Vets
Galaxy Vets is an employee-owned veterinary healthcare system in the U.S. With a mission to give veterinary medicine back to veterinary professionals, Galaxy Vets allocates equity to its employees — veterinarians, specialists, technicians, administrative staff, and relief workforce — making them shareholders in the entire organization through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Learn more at

Galyna Danylenko
+1 443 254 7567

SOURCE Galaxy Vets