The BVA has launched two new guides designed to help its members make tough clinical choices.

The guides, Euthanasia and The role of the vet in treatment choice decision-making, are said to provide both thought-provoking questions for vets to consider when assisting clients with treatment choice and practical guidance on making the right decisions on euthanasia for individual animals.

The guides are the result of work by the BVA’s Ethics and Welfare Group.

The role of the vet in treatment choice decision-making tackles issues such as:
the needs of the animal and the Five Freedoms;
assessing the quality of life of the animal;
ethical issues concerning the vets; and
the role of the practice in treatment choice

The Euthanasia guide includes:
information on the legal aspects of euthanasia;
explanation of the different types of euthanasia – absolutely justified, contextually justified and non-justified; and
an easy-to-follow Decision Tree flow diagram

On the launch of the guides, Peter Jinman, chairman of the BVA’s Ethics and Welfare Group, said: “Treatment choice and euthanasia are important parts of veterinary work but are rarely black and white issues. These guides aim to help vets through the often difficult decision-making processes required and cover all aspects from legal issues to the welfare of the animal and the needs of its owner.

“The BVA guide to euthanasia provides a clear, easy-to-use document to help veterinary surgeons make the best decisions for the animals in their care. As well as outlining the various types of euthanasia, the guide provides a Decision Tree designed to help vets work through the available options.

“The guide to treatment choice decision-making explores issues such as where the vet’s moral obligation lies and how far he/she can and should influence treatment choice.

“The guides aim to be a practical resource for vets in both small and large animal practice at any stage of their careers. I am grateful to the Euthanasia and Treatment Choice sub-group, chaired by Richard Jones, for its excellent work setting in context this potentially difficult area of veterinary work.”

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