Consent form, other guidelines changed

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Several AVMA guidelines were updated and approved by the board after the Council on Veterinary Service reviewed various documents and made changes to better reflect current practices. A revised standard consent form was approved by the board (see form).

Because of changes in large animal practice trends, the board approved rescinding a document titled Large Animal Practice, which was adopted in 1969. In light of results of the study "The Current and Future Market for Veterinarians and Veterinary Medical Services in the United States," and with the expectation that the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues will address current large animal practice trends, the council believes a new document should be created only after relevant information is obtained from the commission.

With board approval, the AVMA Guidelines for Horse Show Veterinarians were amended to reflect changes the AAEP made to the Guide to Horse Show Veterinarians in December 1999.

Guidelines for Use of Volunteers in Veterinary Practice were revised to include a generic statement regarding liability rather than restating AVMA PLIT policy, because not all veterinarians have liability coverage through the PLIT.

Changes in dairy practice warranted board approval of revisions to the Recommended Minimal Standards of Performance for Practicing Veterinarians Who Offer Milk Quality Control Programs.

A recommended modification to the document titled Identification of Animals was approved so that electronic identification of food animals as well as companion animals is now endorsed by the AVMA. In addition, the Companion Animal Electronic Identification Veterinary Practices and Procedures Guidelines were updated so that a transponder can be injected not only by a licensed veterinarian but also "under direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian." This addition allows for inclusion of shelter and other institutional environments in the guidelines.

Standard Consent Form

(Hospital Letterhead)

Owner's Name: __________________________________________________________________
Address: __________________________________________________________________
Patient's Name: ___________________________________________________________________
       Species: ___________________________________________________________________
         Breed: ___________________________________________________________________
           Sex: ___________________________________________________________________
Date of Birth: ___________________________________________________________________

I am the owner or the agent for the owner of the animal described above, and I have the authority to execute this consent.

I have also been informed that there are certain risks and complications associated with any operation or procedure of this type. They have been explained to me as well. I further understand that during the course of the operations or procedures, unforeseen conditions may arise that may necessitate the performance of additional procedures.

I authorize the use of appropriate anesthesia and pain relief medication as needed before or after the procedure. I have been informed that there are risks associated with the use of any medication.

I understand the hospital support personnel will be used as deemed necessary by the veterinarian.

Signed:    ____________________________________________________
Date:    ____________________________________________________

  1. It should be understood that this form will not protect the veterinarian from liability for malpractice (negligence). Releases from liability for malpractice, executed by a client prior to the occurrence of the negligent act, are generally disfavored by the courts. The proposed form is designed merely to protect the veterinarian from liability for intentional acts such as interference with another's property, which means, in fact, permission to do the operation(s) or procedure(s).
  2. When more than one veterinarian is involved in the practice, the name of the hospital or clinic should be shown as well as the name of the individual veterinarian. If the number of veterinarians in a clinic is few enough to make it practical, all consents should include not only the hospital or clinic name and the name of the individual veterinarian, but also the names of other veterinarians practicing in the clinic as partners or otherwise. Where appropriate, such information should be preprinted.
  3. The description of the procedures should be brief but sufficiently comprehensive to cover the situation.
  4. Users may omit any part of this form with which they disagree.