Veterinarians and veterinary nurses, along with other health care professionals, may experience compassion fatigue as a result of continued exposure to the traumatic events their patients and families experience. Also called secondary traumatic stress (STS) or vicarious traumatisation, the result can be a falling off in professional capabilities, emotional exhaustion, distress and burnout. This phenomenon is not only experienced by professional “helpers and carers”, but also by non-professional care-givers and volunteers. Compassion fatigue has been defined as “the emotional burden that health care providers may experience as a result of overexposure to traumatic events that patients are experiencing” (Schwam, 1998). An earlier term used to describe this phenomenon was secondary victimisation (Figley, 1982).