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28-08-2009 - New BVA guides on euthanasia and treatment choice

New BVA guides on euthanasia and treatment choice

26 August 2009

The British Veterinary Association has launched two new guides for members on ‘Euthanasia’ and ‘The role of the vet in treatment choice decision-making’.

BVA GuideThe guides 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
  • the role of the practice in treatment choice

BVA GuideThe ‘Euthanasia’ guide includes

  • information on the legal aspects of euthanasia
  • explanation of the different types of euthanasia - absolutely justified, contextually justified and non-justified
  • an easy-to-follow Decision Tree flow diagram

Commenting 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 Subgroup, chaired by Richard Jones, for their excellent work setting in context this potentially difficult area of veterinary work.”

Notes for editors

1. The guides ‘Euthanasia’ and ‘The role of the vet in treatment choice decision-making’ were initially researched and drafted by the Euthanasia and Treatment Choice Subgroup, chaired by Richard Jones, and discussed and agreed by the BVA’s Ethics and Welfare Group and approved by BVA Council. Members can download the guides

2. For more information, including the guides and images of the guides, please contact the BVA press office


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