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The Veterinarian’s Responsibility When Referring Behavior Problems to Non-Veterinarians
It is vitally important that veterinarians be knowledgeable about the qualifications and behavior modifications methodologies used by non-veterinarians to whom
they refer clients. Non-veterinarians often play an integral role in the animal health care team. However, if outdated and inhumane methods are used by such individuals, they can cause irreversible harm to the patient and result in client injury.
In some circumstances, relegating patient care to a non veterinarian does not meet the accepted standard of care and can constitute a violation of a state’s veterinary practice act.
Humane, Effective and Evidence Based Training
College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) advocates for teaching animals through the reinforcement of desired behaviors and the removal of reinforcement for undesired behaviors. The ACVB also encourages modification of the environment, and, if needed,
the use of psychoactive medication and other products to create a learning environment where training methods based on respect of the animal’s welfare can be most effective.
The ACVB stands against training methods that cause short or long lasting
pain, discomfort or fear. Aversive training methods can be dangerous to people as well as animals and pose a threat to animal welfare by inhibiting learning, increasing behaviors related to fear and distress, and causing direct injury.
Standard of Care in Behavior Medicine
As with all other aspects of veterinary medicine, veterinarians need to stay up to date with current behavioral diagnoses and treatment protocols because the medical and behavioral health and welfare of the animal are