OBJECTIVE To explore the extent to which veterinary colleges and schools accredited by the AVMA Council on Education (COE) have incorporated specific courses related to animal welfare, behavior, and ethics.
DESIGN Survey and curriculum review.
All 49 AVMA COE-accredited veterinary colleges and schools (institutions).
PROCEDURES The study consisted of 2 parts. In part 1, a survey regarding animal welfare, behavior, and ethics was emailed to the associate dean of academic affairs at all 49 AVMA COE-accredited institutions. In part 2, the curricula for the 30 AVMA COE-accredited institutions in the United States were reviewed for courses on animal behavior, ethics, and welfare.
RESULTS Seventeen of 49 (35%) institutions responded to the survey of part 1, of which 10 offered a formal animal welfare course, 9 offered a formal animal behavior course, 8 offered a formal animal ethics course, and 5 offered a combined animal welfare, behavior, and ethics course. The frequency with which courses on animal welfare, behavior, and ethics were offered differed between international and US institutions. Review of the curricula for the 30 AVMA COE-accredited US institutions revealed that 6 offered a formal course on animal welfare, 22 offered a formal course on animal behavior, and 18 offered a formal course on animal ethics.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that AVMA COE-accredited institutions need to provide more formal education on animal welfare, behavior, and ethics so veterinarians can be advocates for animals and assist with behavioral challenges.