AVMA policy on the veterinarian’s role in supporting appropriate selection and use of service, assistance, and therapy animals
Assistance, service, emotional support, and therapy animals provide valuable help, support, and comfort for people. The veterinarian’s role is to advocate for the health and welfare of the animal in these partnerships.
Therefore, the AVMA encourages veterinarians to be familiar with the legal status and protections accorded to these types of animals and their owners. This includes promoting accurate descriptions of these animals’ roles and addressing their specific health concerns.
Veterinarians may also act as a resource for clients in animal identification and training, such as recommending reputable providers and programs.
Determining whether a person would benefit from working with an assistance, service, emotional support, or therapy animal is made by a human healthcare provider and is outside the scope of veterinary medicine. However, veterinarians are encouraged to work collaboratively with other relevant human health and animal professionals in developing guidance and support for appropriate partnerships with these types of animals.
View this policy