Veterinary Social Work

What is Veterinary Social Work?

Veterinary Social Work is a specialty practice of social work that focuses on the human needs in human-animal relationships.  It is guided by the Veterinary Social Work Oath.

Veterinary Social Work often includes four interconnected areas of service:

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Compassion Fatigue and Conflict Management 

Stressful and traumatic experiences are common in veterinary and animal care environments. Veterinary Social Work meets animal care professionals where they are and provides education and coping skills to manage stress, conflict, and compassion fatigue.

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Animal Related Grief and Bereavement

As the bonds between humans and animals can be profound, the loss of animals can produce profound grief.  Veterinary Social Work supports those caring for ill or aging animals as well as those grieving the loss of a beloved animal.

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Animal Assisted

Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) are intentional, goal-directed interactions in which the inclusion of an animal is part of the broader goal for the people involved.  AAI may include Animal Assisted Therapy, Animal Assisted Education, and Animal Assisted Activities.  

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The Link Between Human and Animal Violence

Research indicates that those who harm and abuse animals often go on to harm and abuse other humans. This is often referred to as "The Link."  This link makes it critical that society take seriously acts of cruelty toward animals both for the animals themselves and for people who are also at risk.

How do we do Veterinary Social Work in the Upstate?

In the Upstate we are taking several steps: