This guideline outlines the appropriate standard expected of a registered veterinary practitioner in the course of veterinary practice. It should be read in conjunction with other related guidelines.
A veterinary practitioner is trained to assess animal health and wellbeing. This training is exercised through the application of their skills and applied knowledge to optimise the care and management of animals.
A veterinary practitioner should take all reasonable steps to safeguard the wellbeing of animals in line with contemporary animal welfare standards. A veterinary practitioner should consider the animal species, their physical environment and their particular circumstances when making decisions relating to the physical health, behavioural and mental health requirements of an animal. The same approach to animal wellbeing does not necessarily apply to all species in all circumstances.
Optimising the wellbeing of the animal receiving veterinary services guides a veterinary practitioner in making their professional judgements. A veterinary practitioner should consider what is in the best interest of the animal’s wellbeing when advising the animal’s owner on its care, treatment, prognosis and management.
A veterinary practitioner who performs a procedure prohibited under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 for other than therapeutic reasons is demonstrating unprofessional conduct.
This material is current only at the time of publication and may be changed from time to time. The Board reviews and updates the Guidelines on a continuous basis to reflect changes in the science and knowledge base underpinning contemporary veterinary practice. The Board will take reasonable steps to inform the veterinary profession when such updates are released but it remains the responsibility of the individual veterinary practitioner to ensure that their knowledge and application of these Guidelines to their own practice is current.
While the Board has made every effort to ensure that the material in these Guidelines is correct in law, it shall not be liable to any veterinary practitioner or any other person or entity in relation to any claim, action or proceeding whatsoever (whether in contract, negligence or other tort or in proceedings seeking any other form of legal or equitable remedy or relief) for any inadequacy, error or mistake, or for any deficiency in the whole or any part of this document (including any updates incorporated in the document from time to time). A veterinary practitioner or any other person or entity acting upon the contents of this document acknowledges and accepts that this is the basis upon which the Board has produced these Guidelines and made them available to such person or entity.