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Evidence-based veterinary medicine
  1. Stuart W. Turner1 and
  2. Nick Royle1
  1. 1President, Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine Association e-mail:
  2. 2RCVS Knowledge, Belgravia House, 62-64 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AF e-mail:

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EVIDENCE-based veterinary medicine (EBVM) can be defined as ‘the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient’ (Sackett and others 1996). Three misunderstandings, and three valid criticisms, of EBVM have been commonly stated as arguments against its use, some of which were raised in David Mills’ article ‘Is EBVM ethical’ (VR, August 15, 2015, vol 177, pp 181-182). As proponents of EBVM, we take this opportunity to summarise our responses to them, beginning with the three common misunderstandings:

■ Because vets have always used evidence to guide their clinical decision making, they must already be practicing EBVM.

Although vets have always used evidence, most vets’ use of clinical research evidence has tended to be informal, unsystematic and haphazard. The cornerstone of EBVM is that, for any one clinical decision, all relevant research evidence should be systematically searched for and rigorously, systematically assessed in terms of its quality and applicability to that decision. This process yields the best available evidence to inform the decision to be made and, importantly, an explicit grading of the quality, or reliability, of that evidence, and it does so in a transparent, repeatable fashion. As such, EBVM is not a radical …

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