Equal Access to Veterinary Therapeutics and Companion Animal Welfare top WSAVA’s 2018 Agenda, says President-Elect during BSAVA

Shane Ryan

Shane Ryan

A campaign to create equal access to veterinary therapeutics globally and the launch of its Global Guidelines for Companion Animal Welfare are the WSAVA’s priorities for 2018, according to President-Elect Dr Shane Ryan. Dr Ryan outlined its plans during a briefing at BSAVA Congress on Friday 6 April.  He also announced that the WSAVA, which represents 105 member associations and more than 200,000 veterinarians globally, is preparing to launch a Professional Wellness Committee and is developing plans for its next set of Global Guidelines.

Equal access to veterinary therapeutics

Dr Ryan explained that restricted access to veterinary medicines in some parts of the world, often because of financial or regulatory issues, is a long-standing problem and limits the efforts of many companion animal veterinarians to provide optimal care.  The WSAVA is forming a Therapeutics Guidelines Group (TGG) to spearhead efforts to improve access.  It has also created a Position Statement, which has been endorsed by veterinary associations including the Federation of  European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations, the Federation of Asian Small Animal Veterinary Associations, Federación Iberoamericana de Asociaciones Veterinarias de Animales de Compañía, the Commonwealth Veterinary Association and HealthforAnimals.

WSAVA Companion Animal Welfare Guidelines

Dr Ryan explained that members of the WSAVA’s Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee are also finalizing the new WSAVA Global Guidelines for Companion Animal Welfare.  They will be launched during WSAVA World Congress in Singapore.  They will set out recommendations for the veterinary team, following every interaction with the pet to ensure that, in addition to providing accurate health advice and therapy, they offer evidence-based information and guidance to ensure the health, welfare and safety of the animal, the owner and themselves.

WSAVA Global Guidelines support companion animal veterinarians by setting minimum standards of care for conditions or issues of global relevance and recommending best practice in each area.  They aim to provide clinicians with clear diagnostic and treatment guidelines, wherever in the world they are in practice.  The WSAVA already offers Global Guidelines in key areas, including vaccination, nutrition, pain management and dental care. They are available for free download from its website.  It will shortly be starting work on a set of Global Guidelines on Reproduction and Neutering.

Professional wellness

With the personal and professional wellness of veterinary professionals increasingly in the spotlight, the WSAVA is also preparing to launch a Professional Wellness Committee, chaired by Dr Nienke Endenburg, a human psychologist at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Utrecht. The Committee is currently reviewing existing resources and aims to drive the develop of new global tools to support veterinary wellness, working in collaboration with human psychiatrists and psychologists.



Dr Shane Ryan, an Australian veterinarian in practice in Singapore, was joined at the briefing by other members of the WSAVA’s Executive Board: Dr Renee Hoynck, Dr Nicola Neumann, WSAVA Vice President Dr Siraya Chunekamrai and Chief Executive Ms Arpita Bhose.  Summing up, he said: “The welfare of companion animals is our focus for 2018, with the launch of our Global Guidelines for Companion Animal Welfare and our campaign to secure equal access to veterinary therapeutics.  This, in itself, would represent a major step forward from a welfare perspective.  We will also continue to make our voice heard on issues including brachycephalic breeds, the dog meat trade and other areas where welfare is at risk.

“It is also important that we focus on supporting our members around the world and we expect our Professional Wellness Committee to rapidly establish itself as a positive force in the promotion of professional welfare globally.”

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