Unwell pets are being given painful and unnecessary treatments by owners who refuse to let their animals die, a campaigning group of vets has warned.
EthicsFirst, a group of veterinary professionals, said dogs and cats are now able to receive complicated treatments, often covered by insurance, such as chemotherapy and heart surgery without giving consent.
But the campaigning group voiced concerns that vets are helping owners give their unwell pets 'overtreatment and unproven interventions' when euthanasia is a kinder option.
EthicsFirst urged for there to be more debate about the ethics of giving animals painful and unnecessary treatment when they are unable to give consent, The Times reported.
EthicsFirst, a group of veterinary professionals, said dogs and cats are able to receive complicated treatments, often covered by insurance and can prolong pain (stock image)
The group argued that vets are helping pet owners to prolong animals' agony and said there is a viewpoint among some vets that euthanasia is a failure and should only be a last resort.
A number of vets are also concerned that some in the profession are influenced by financial gain or a need to never to give up on the animal, which can lead to unnecessary treatments.
Last year, Professor Sarah Wolfensohn, of Surrey University's school of veterinary medicine, wrote a paper arguing that owners are influenced by animals' 'cuteness' when making vital decisions about treatment.
The paper, entitled 'Too Cute to Kill? The Need for Objective Measurements of Quality of Life', said: 'I think what we've done is go down the route of treating animals like mini humans when they get ill or old.
'Yes, they are part of the family, but a dog has its normal behaviour that it wants to engage in: running around, playing ball, that sort of thing.'
Speaking about her own experience, Wolfensohn said she had to put down her 12-year-old labrador Bentham after he lost the use of his hind legs to arthritis.
EthicsFirst urged for there to be more debate about the ethics of giving animals painful and unnecessary treatment when they are unable to give consent (stock image)
She argued that putting him down was the 'kindest thing', saying some younger vets believe that euthanasia means they have 'got it wrong', when it can be a 'perfectly good treatment' to end an animal's suffering.
Meanwhile Dr Kathy Murphy, a veterinary surgeon and director of the comparative biology centre at Newcastle University, said she was worried