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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


OBJECTIVE To assess the prevalence of medical errors (specifically, near misses [NMs] and adverse events [AEs]) and their personal and professional impact on veterinarians.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

SAMPLE Members of the Veterinary Information Network (n = 46,481).

PROCEDURES An electronic survey regarding veterinarians' experiences with NMs and AEs was distributed via email to an online veterinary community between September 24 and October 21, 2015. Responses were summarized and compared between genders by means of the χ2 test.

RESULTS 606 veterinarians completed the survey (1.3% response rate). Overall, 447 (73.8%) respondents reported involvement in ≥ 1 NM (n = 389 [64.2%]) or AE (179 [29.5%]). The NMs had a short-term (≤ 1 week) adverse impact on professional life for 68.0% (261/384) of respondents and longer-term negative impact for 36.4% (140/385). The impact on respondents' personal lives was similar (63.6% [245/385] and 33.5% [129/385], respectively). For AEs, these numbers were 84.1% (148/176), 56.2% (99/177), 77.8% (137/176), and 50.6% (89/175), respectively. Both NMs and AEs were more likely to negatively impact female veterinarians than male veterinarians.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE These findings suggested that many veterinarians experience emotional distress after a medical error. Support should be provided to mitigate this adverse impact on the wellbeing of veterinarians and, potentially, their future patients.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


OBJECTIVE To survey practicing veterinarians regarding their perceptions of and experiences with cases of suspected or confirmed animal abuse and related state laws.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

POPULATION Members of the Veterinary Information Network (VIN; n = 34,144) who were in veterinary practice at the time of the survey.

PROCEDURES A survey was designed and distributed online to all VIN members from January 26 to February 28, 2015. Responses were compiled, and binary logistic regression analysis was performed to identify factors that influenced decisions or perceptions regarding animal abuse encounters and related legislation.

RESULTS 1,209 completed surveys were received (3.5% response rate); 1,155 (95.5%) surveys were submitted by currently practicing veterinarians. One thousand five (87.0%) practicing veterinarians reported having encountered at least 1 case of animal abuse while in practice; 561 (55.8%) of these veterinarians indicated that they had reported at least 1 case. The most common reasons selected for reporting abuse were to protect the animal, ethical beliefs, and to protect other animals in the household. The most common reasons selected for not reporting the abuse were uncertainty that the animal had been abused, belief that client education would be better, and belief that the injury or illness was accidental versus intentional. Most respondents were unaware of the current status of laws in their state regarding animal abuse reporting.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested a need for state and national veterinary and humane-law enforcement organizations to increase communication and education efforts on recognition and reporting by veterinarians of animal abuse and the related laws.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


OBJECTIVE To understand the experiences of owners of dogs with chronic pain and explore owner perceptions of their pets' pain.

DESIGN Observational study.

SAMPLE 10 owners of dogs with chronic pain.

PROCEDURES Owners were interviewed by means of a semistructured and conversational technique. Interviews were then transcribed and analyzed with standard qualitative methodology to code for major themes.

RESULTS Major themes that were identified included changes in owner schedule, effects on owner relationships, and necessary resources when owning a pet with chronic pain. Owners discussed their perceptions of their pets' pain, and several participants referred to empathizing with their pet owing to their own experiences with pain. Owners also suggested ways that veterinarians can support them during the experience of owning a dog with chronic pain.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE By understanding the impact of chronic pain on dog owners and appreciating how owners perceive pain in their pets, veterinarians may be able to provide better care for patients and clients.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


To determine whether animal factors and level of professional veterinary medical training were associated with attitudes toward pain management in animals.


Exploratory, descriptive survey.

Sample Population

Students in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences professional veterinary medical curriculum (approx 540) and clinical faculty (approx 50), house officers (approx 25), and support staff (approx 100) in the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital.


A descriptive survey including demographic, descriptive, and case-based questions was distributed to participants. Participation was voluntary and survey results were anonymous.


357 of 720 surveys were completed and returned (31 by faculty, 29 by staff, 18 by house officers, and 279 by students). There was a high degree of concordance among survey participants regarding the overall importance of treating pain in animals. The extent to which pain should be alleviated and animal factors, such as breed, behavior, and clinical circumstances, accounted for much of the discordance among survey groups. Fourth-year veterinary students indicated that they were occasionally less likely to treat animals for pain than were second- or third-year veterinary students.

Clinical Implications

The diversity of opinions regarding the necessity or desirability of treating pain in animals, the apparent decrease in the likelihood of senior veterinary students to treat animals for pain under certain circumstances, and evidence of knowledge deficits regarding analgesic treatments among all groups contribute to the likelihood that pain in animals will neither be consistently recognized nor appropriately treated. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;214:238–244)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association