Risk factors

  • Perfectionism
  • Prior mental health challenges
  • Prior trauma
  • Social isolation
  • Financial stress
  • Lack of support at work
  • Lack of healthy coping skills



Combating Compassion Fatigue

What is compassion fatigue?

Compassion fatigue is often known as "burn-out" or vicarious trauma.

Passionate and talented professionals in care-giving careers experience compassion fatigue when they work in high stress environments with inadequate support and are regularly faced with ethical dilemmas and issues of life and death

Veterinary professionals experience a high rate of compassion fatigue and do not always find support and acceptance for the work they do in their communities. In fact the veterinary community is experiencing an epidemic of compassion fatigue and associated mental illness such as depression and anxiety.

Symptoms of compassion fatigue

  • Apathy toward a job you once loved
  • Numbness/emptiness
  • Sadness
  • Loss of pleasure in previously enjoyed activities
  • Isolation
  • Exhaustion (mental and physical)
  • Physical symptoms (e.g. headache, stomachache)
  • Disrupted sleep, including nightmares
  • Excessive complaining about job and co-workers
  • Unable to complete activities of daily living (e.g. hygiene, maintaining appearance, household tasks)
  • Unhealthy ways of coping (substance abuse, gambling, over-eating)