AVMA revises principles of ethics, ethics position statements

Published on
information-circle This article is more than 3 years old

The Executive Board updated AVMA policies regarding medical ethics and client payment, telephone consulting, and caring for the pets of indigent people.

The board amended the Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics to recognize the concept of mutual agreement between veterinarian and client with regard to proceeding with treatment and the responsibility for payment. Previously, the Principles permitted veterinarians to choose whom they will serve, but it imposed an ethical obligation on the veterinarian to continue treatment, once started, without regard to the client's ability or willingness to pay.

A new position statement on "Medical Care for the Pets of Indigent People" was also adopted. The position statement suggests that medical care for the pets of indigent people should be provided through a cooperative effort between humane organizations and the local veterinary medical association. The statement also commends the efforts of veterinarians providing such care. The previous position statement, approved in 1974, did not reflect contemporary veterinary practice.

Additionally, the board revised the telephone consulting position statement to oppose pay-per-call telephone and media services outside a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship, when the intent is to diagnose or treat animals for the public. Provision is made for exceptions such as poison control centers.