AVMA passes proposals on end-of-life care, SAVMA, allied groups

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) House of Delegates (HOD) approved a policy on end-of-life care for companion animals and approved bylaws amendments regarding the Student AVMA and allied veterinary organizations.

The AVMA board of directors had submitted a revised version of the existing “Policy on Veterinary Hospice Care” to the HOD; delegates renamed the policy as “Veterinary End-of-Life Care” and made corresponding changes in the text of the policy.

On recommendation of the AVMA steering committee on human-animal interactions, the policy now states that the AVMA endorses the 2016 guidelines on end-of-life care from the American Animal Hospital Association and the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care.

The revised policy outlines the concept of veterinary end-of-life care as “the provision of palliative care (including medications) for the remainder of a pet’s life followed by humane euthanasia if an acceptable quality of life can no longer be maintained.” The policy specifies that advice on veterinary care should be provided only by veterinary professionals, and that veterinarians should be empowered as animal advocates in end-of-life care facilities for animals.

The HOD approved a bylaws amendment paving the way for transfer of the student chapters of the AVMA to the Student AVMA (SAVMA). The goal is to streamline the structure of organized veterinary medicine for students and eliminate confusion. The amendment removed the student chapters of the AVMA from the AVMA bylaws and authorized SAVMA to establish chapters. All student chapters of the AVMA and their assets will be transferred to SAVMA.

Delegates also approved a bylaws amendment clarifying the process for an allied group to meet the requirements to maintain a seat in the House. Each allied group generally must have a voting membership that includes at least 1 percent of all voting members of the AVMA.

“The number of AVMA voting members for a calendar year shall be calculated as of the date of March 31 of that year,” states the amendment, allowing organizations that are unable to maintain the 1 percent requirement as of July 1 of any year, starting in 2018, to have one year from the end of the summer session of the HOD to meet the requirement.

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