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Council updates pain management policy

July 18, 2019

The Council of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (College) recently approved changes to its policy on pain management.

“Managing pain while delivering treatment to animals is fundamental to quality veterinary care,” said Dr. Patricia Lechten, President of the College. “The public and the profession recognize that pain management is an important component of humane veterinary medicine and is vital to safe, effective patient care.”

Council seeks opportunities to contribute to positive outcomes that support animal health and wellbeing and committed to updating the pain management policy as part of its animal welfare agenda. Animal welfare, inclusive of harm reduction and the relief of suffering, is central to the practice of veterinary medicine.

The revised position statement states a veterinarian is expected to maintain current knowledge and skill in the prevention, recognition and management of pain in animals served. The prevention and alleviation of pain and suffering is considered an essential therapeutic goal. Appropriate treatment includes pharmacological therapy, integrative therapy and environmental adaptation.

The updated policy document is available on the College website at cvo.org/painmanagement.

Council’s job as the veterinary regulator is to understand current and emerging risks in veterinary practice and implement strategies to protect the public and their animals from potential harm. The public trusts the College to ensure safety and quality in the veterinary services they seek.

As a regulated profession, the College’s governing Council is comprised of 13 elected veterinarians and five public members, appointed by the provincial government.  Supporting the work of Council are five Statutory and two Standing Committees, with membership composed of veterinarians and public members.