AVMA Convention 2022 Daily News Friday


Speakers discuss euthanasia, animal welfare, behavior of research animals

Published July 29, 2022

The art of euthanasia, fundamentals of animal welfare education, and behavioral management of research animals are the topics of sessions being presented today at AVMA Convention 2022 by the winners of the AVMA awards for work in the human-animal bond and animal welfare.

Dr. Nathaniel S. Kollias, an assistant director in the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Division, presents a related session, “The Psychological Impact of Humane Endings,” just before the session about the art of euthanasia. Dr. Kollias’ session is from 10-10:50 a.m. in room 104AB.

Dr. Kollias will review the research that has been conducted about the psychological impacts of delivering humane endings, describe a theoretical model that may affect the degree of these psychological impacts, and review activities of the AVMA Steering Committee on Human-Animal Interactions’ working group on the psychological impacts of humane endings, including the tools and resources that the group is creating to address the topic.

Illustration: Human hand holding various animals

Dr. Dani McVety-Leinen, winner of the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award, will speak about “The Art of Euthanasia: Lessons Learned” from 11-11:50 a.m. in room 104AB. Dr. McVety-Leinen is the founder and CEO of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, a nationwide network.

Attendees will learn about the importance of nonverbal communication during euthanasia and specific examples on how to improve their nonverbal communication in the examination room during euthanasia; various methods of working with clients before, during, and after the euthanasia appointment; specific ways to improve in-hospital euthanasia; specific words and phrases to use with clients to ease the process; and the importance of euthanasia with regard to client satisfaction and retention.

Suzanne Millman, PhD, winner of the AVMA Humane Award, will deliver the Humane Award Lecture from 3-3:50 p.m. in room 103C. Dr. Millman is a professor at Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine who studies animal behavior.

Attendees will learn how to discern animal welfare as a concept distinct from animal care and the human-animal bond, recognize synergy between animal welfare and evidence-based veterinary medicine, review core knowledge and core competencies identified in the AVMA’s model animal welfare curriculum, explore teaching resources available for developing and evaluating animal welfare knowledge and skills for veterinary applications, and be inspired to teach animal welfare principles as stand-alone concepts and as integral components of clinical cases.

Dr. Patricia V. Turner, winner of the AVMA Animal Welfare Award, will speak about “Research Animal Behavioral Management: Towards a More Holistic Approach” from 4-4:50 p.m. in room 103C. Dr. Turner is a laboratory animal veterinarian who works as corporate vice president for global animal welfare at Charles River Laboratories.

The session will cover necessary components of behavioral management programs that should be considered for all species of research animals, how to better prepare research animals for scientific procedures, and how addressing behavioral management of research animals improves overall animal welfare, scientific outcomes, and employee satisfaction.