AVMA to Weigh Spay/Neuter Policy Change

The House of Delegates may opt to refer to the Association of Shelter Veterinarians for spay/neuter guidelines.

Veterinary students get hands-on experience at the Humane Alliance Spay/Neuter Training Center in Asheville, N.C.

Humane Alliance

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The American Veterinary Medical Association board of directors is recommending that practitioners who participate in spay/neuter clinics follow the standards of care outlined by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.

The idea is among six new resolutions that the AVMA House of Delegates may vote on in January during the governing body’s regular winter session in Chicago.

The spay/neuter proposal, Resolution 3, would clarify the current policy, which advises veterinarians working at spay/neuter clinics to abide by the AVMA’s Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics.

The possible move to Association of Shelter Veterinarians medical care guidelines would keep veterinarians up to date with current standards of practice, the board of directors noted.

“Because of a wide range of geographic and demographic needs, a variety of programs have been developed to increase delivery of spay/neuter services to targeted populations of animals,” the revised policy reads in part. “These include stationary and mobile clinics, MASH-style operations, shelter services, feral cat programs and services provided through private practitioners.

“These services should conform to current standards of practice as described by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ veterinary medical care guidelines for spay/neuter programs.”

Among other proposals scheduled for consideration in January are:

  • Resolution 1: The American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners is asking that AVMA adopt a policy “supporting the humane transportation of animals for the purposes of biomedical research, testing and education.”

“Veterinarians involved in the care of laboratory animals are concerned about the continued ability to humanely transport animals between facilities,” the group stated.

The resolution does not mention animal rights groups, many of whom oppose research on laboratory animals. The proposal calls on AVMA “to take a proactive stance in supporting such an important endeavor.”

The AVMA board of directors recommended that the House of Delegates approve the measure.

  • Resolution 2: Submitted by the Arizona Veterinary Medical Association, the proposal would allow all renewing AVMA members to “have the option to select any entity currently seated in the [House] to be their voice.”
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The default selection, the Arizona group stated, “would remain the state association in which the member resides.”

The need for weighted voting, according to the Arizona veterinarians, is based on “a possible conflict where a member of the AVMA who was not a member of the state association lacked a voice in the House of Delegates.”

The AVMA board of directors, without comment, recommended that the resolution be rejected.

  • Resolution 4, which would support the development of antimicrobial use guidelines for companion animal practitioners.
  • Resolution 5, which would endorse the International Society for Companion Animal Infectious Diseases’ 2014 antimicrobial use guidelines for the treatment of urinary tract disease in dogs and cats.
  • Resolution 6, which would endorse the international society’s 2014 antimicrobial use guidelines for the treatment of superficial pyoderma in dogs and cats.

The board of directors supports resolutions 4, 5 and 6.

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