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In a first for the profession, 15 of the major UK member organisations, vet schools and policy-making bodies have come together to affirm their commitment to veterinary medicine based on sound scientific principles.
Their commitment is published in Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine Matters: Our Commitment to the Future – a new landmark publication produced by RCVS Knowledge and the charity Sense about Science.
It is set in the context of 14 case studies that showcase the impact of standout veterinary research and evidence in the 20th and 21st centuries. Spanning small animal, farm, equine, nursing, animal welfare and agriculture, the case studies show that different types of evidence have been key to major steps forward in veterinary medicine.
The commitment to evidence-based veterinary medicine:
Evidence-based veterinary medicine is key to the delivery of modern veterinary medicine.
It means veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses making clinical decisions according
to their professional judgement, based on the best available evidence at the time and what
is right for the individual animal and owner. When rigorous research underpins medical
decisions, adverse events can be minimised and patient outcomes can be improved.
Veterinary medicine faces challenges from treatments that avoid rigorous scrutiny,
as well as from managing patients with multiple and often chronic diseases. By working
towards a recognised evidence base for treatments, we give the veterinary professions
and clients the best foundation on which to base decisions.
We believe evidence-based veterinary medicine reinforces the sound scientific principles
of the profession and strengthens the commitment to put animal health and welfare
at the forefront of all we do.
Sign up to the commitment to show your support of evidence-based veterinary medicine.
The following organisations have signed up to the commitment on launch: Animal and Plant Health Agency, British Cattle Veterinary Association, British Veterinary Association, British Veterinary Nursing Association, RCVS Knowledge, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), Royal Veterinary College, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, University of Liverpool, University of Nottingham, University of Surrey, Veterinary Policy Research Foundation.
The following organisations have also demonstrated their commitment. Read their full statements below.
Association for Veterinary Teaching and Research Work
As an organization promoting objective, sound and rigorous advancement across all areas of veterinary teaching and research, we strongly support the EBVM statement, providing a wide breadth of different case studies spanning across species and specialities, but all with a common theme, that to further our knowledge and to provide practical solutions applicable in everyday life, evidence-based veterinary medicine represents the best way forward.
British Veterinary Zoological Society
We do have in our constitution a commitment to follow scientific method as a foundation for improving the health and welfare of all non-domesticated animals and so it seems logical to support your efforts.
Canine Arthritis Management
Canine Arthritis Management exists to provide owners, veterinary professionals and those working within the wider animal care industry, a source of unbiased, evidence based, current information on the identification and management of canine osteoarthritis.
Read the rest of Canine Arthritis Management's statement
This initiative is managed by a multidisciplinary team of veterinary professionals, who volunteer their time and expertise to help improve the health and welfare of dogs across the globe. We have a website which is an invaluable resource to the primary care clinician who is prevented by the current consulting system in the UK from having the time to discuss all aspects of disease management, as it offers a safe and reliable wealth of evidence based information, that is easy for an owner to understand.
Three key compromises to patient welfare in the UK were identified earlier this year as obesity, dental disease and osteoarthritis. There is a well substantiated link between obesity and OA so we feel our initiative is acting to influence these concerns positively.
There is so much misinformation and cleverly marketed sales campaigns when researching managing osteoarthritis online. We want to help owners make informed evidence based decision making that makes the best use of their available resources both time and financial, to establish a gold standard treatment plan within their means, that has proven efficacy.
Martin Whitehead, on behalf of Chipping Norton Veterinary School
In the late 1980s and early '90s, before I went to vet school, I worked as a research scientist doing basic and clinical science in tertiary-care human medical-school hospitals. I watched as the beginnings of evidence-based medicine - that term was first published in 1991, but the basic methods had already been around for over 20 years - began to overwhelm the resistance of eminence-based medicine and the inertia of 'this is how I've always done it and, in my opinion, it works'. The resulting improvement in clinical care was - and continues to be - huge.
Read the rest of Chipping Norton Veterinary School's statement.
Put simply, without a science-based, evidence-based approach, and the critical assessment of clinical trials and of our own practice that is such a fundamental part of that approach, we do not really know whether our treatments are efficacious - even if we think we do.
Veterinary medicine is far behind human medicine in this respect, and I am still frustrated every day that - even though our Hospital tries to use evidence-based treatments as much as possible - we so often have to use treatments, even for common conditions, of which we are unsure of their efficacy through lack of evidence.
CVS is committing to support and promote the practice of evidence-based medicine to build confidence, both for the profession and our clients, that we are doing the right thing for the animals in our care.
PDSA is keen to support EBVM Matters and other initiatives that promote the gathering, communication or application of evidence and an evidence-based approach.
Read the rest of PDSA's statement
PDSA was established in 1917 to help ensure no pet suffered needlessly, since that time PDSA has grown into the UK’s leading veterinary charity, helping pets and their owners in need every day. Our teams provide vital, life-saving care, to 470,000 pets every year through 48 Pet Hospitals and clinics across the UK.
As PDSA has grown the risks associated with delivering a veterinary service on such a scale have grown and there has been an increasing duty to all of our stakeholders (Clients, patients, employees, volunteers, supporters, donors, Trustees and the charity commission) to demonstrate that charitable funds are used as effectively as possible and that we are delivering an appropriate standard of clinical and customer service which provides the pet welfare outcomes and client care required.
In order to do this PDSA has established and operated within a clinical governance/QI framework for many years; good quality, reliable and practically relevant evidence is a cornerstone of our ability to decide what care we should be providing (through our Scope of Service), how we are going to provide that care effectively (through our protocols and guidance) and how we reassure ourselves that we are providing the outcomes and welfare that we desire (through audits, benchmarking, adverse event reporting and impact measures).
In recognition of its importance we incorporated EBVM as one of our ‘Clinical Governance Commitments’ which were introduced in 2013 and provide a framework for all clinical governance activity, ‘Apply the concepts and principles of evidence based veterinary medicine at any opportunity’; even though at the time EBVM was still early in its development as a concept.
Unfortunately, evidence is not always available or readily usable, so PDSA is strongly supportive of the EBVM Matters commitment and other means that assist with the creation and use of evidence in veterinary practice.
The Veterinary Wound Library
We are committed to independence, dissemination and support of ethical, evidence-based research that enables modern technologies to benefit the veterinary sector and animal welfare.
For the full statement, and further information on why they pledge their support to EBVM Matters, view the Vet Wound Library blog post.
As well as organisations, more than 40 individuals have added their name to the commitment. See what EBVM means to them using the toggle below.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because this is the best way to improve patient care and to identify flaws in our knowledge.
It is extremely important that we, as veterinary professionals, continue to pursue our goal for evidence based veterinary medicine. This is important, not only in regards to the health implications that antimicrobial resistance has for us, but to ensure that as a profession we continuously aspire to giving the very best care to our patients and clients.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because it is vital for the future of our patients, by ensuring we are providing them with Gold Standard, relevant, up-to-date & the most exceptional veterinary care possible. In doing so, we take on accountability and responsibility to continually update our knowledge and skills and pledge to be the best advocates for our patients.
I believe that the public need accessible current evidence based information to help them manage their dog's health. Canine Arthritis Management aims to take this approach directly to the owner/client.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because it is important to make informed clinical decisions.
Providing good quality veterinary care should be done in a logical and scientific manner, following best practice where possible.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because I strongly believe it is the only way to progress our profession and help gain a deeper understanding that it can be applied to our everyday work in our own practices.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because the future for the profession relies on it!
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because it’s a fundamental principle of modern veterinary medicine.
Yaiza Gomez Mejias
EBVM provides a cornerstone for shared decision-making between veterinary professionals and clients. The vet professional needs to have a good grasp of the latest evidence in order to present options, risks and benefits associated with proposed treatments.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because I am passionate about applying gold standards of veterinary care
Evidence based medicine can underpin rational and practical treatment options in the field, improving patient outcomes and animal welfare.
I believe that a pledge to uphold animal welfare can only be sustained where decisions are made based on best available evidence. Our field of wound care tech and education relies upon extrapolation of evidence from human healthcare where animal studies are lacking and RCT's are too costly to industry to focus in this area. As an independent advisory service (vetwoundlibrary) we pledge to question the products promoted in the Veterinary sector for wound care and to encourage an evidence based approach, both in practice and in industry. We are committed to independence, dissemination and support of ethical, evidence based research that enables modern technologies to benefit the veterinary sector and animal welfare.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because I want to practise veterinary medicine on the basis of good scientific evidence and continue to improve our work.
It is such an important factor in patient care safety, quality improvement and improved patient care.
It provides the best route to improve the quality and consistency of care provided by the profession. It is also the best way to improve the public perception of the profession which in turn will improve the wellbeing of the profession with reduced complaints and increased public confidence in what we do.
I believe we can be pioneers in medical and surgical developments.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because it is the best way to truly move forward in improving the welfare of our patients.
Pablo Jimenez Rihuete
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because I believe it does improve patient outcomes.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because it will reduce waste in research and prevent patient suffering.
Strong evidence is lacking in many areas of veterinary medicine and we need to grow a larger knowledge base in order to facilitate widespread evidence-based practice.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine in order to make clinical and professional decisions based upon the most up to date and reliable evidence.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because I think that is the only way towards unbiased decision making.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because medicine without evidence is just guesswork.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because it helps both ourselves, the animals and the clients have better care and better outcomes.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because I am a practising veterinary surgeon.
It is vitally important to pay attention to the evidence for the treatments we choose. I wish the whole profession could embrace this. There is a wealth of science and evidence available. We need to ensure this is shared and adhered to. We have to advocate for our patients and offer them the best.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because we need to know that our clinical decisions are truly of benefit to the animals under our care.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because it delivers the best outcome for the patient, the owner and the veterinary surgeon.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because I believe this will help veterinary medicine to develop.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because it is vital to the advancement of veterinary science and will help us to maximize animal welfare around the world.
Nieky van Veggel
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because all decisions surrounding clients and patients should always be based on the best available evidence.
I am a veterinary librarian. I also am an open science advocate so that evidence, "a competitive advantage in an age of misinformation" (2015 quote from Dr. Ron Larson KState) is fully and rapidly accessible to all who need it.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because I want to go home every day knowing that I have given my patients the best care and my clients the best advice.
I am committing to evidence-based veterinary medicine because it works better than the alternatives.
“We are impressed by the contributions from our co-signatories, which clearly demonstrate the phenomenal impact on patient outcomes that conducting research and using evidence can have. The publication makes a strong case for much-needed funding for research to grow the evidence base, which would put powerful, robust data into the hands of veterinary professionals as they make critical decisions that can affect patient outcomes.
"It is our hope that the calibre, diversity and sheer number of the organisations putting their name to this commitment will galvanise all vets and their teams to expand their use of evidence in practice.”
Chris Gush, Executive Director, RCVS Knowledge
Make evidence part of what you do:
- Keep up to date with the latest evidence by subscribing to our journal watch, inFOCUS, or join us as a clinical reviewer.
- Write a Knowledge Summary or become a peer reviewer for our open access journal Veterinary Evidence.
- Add to the evidence base by submitting a clinical query.
- Use our quality improvement tools and resources.
- Sign up to our newsletter, intheKNOW, to keep up to date with EBVM developments.