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Ethics of EBVM
  1. Martin Whitehead
  1. Chipping Norton Veterinary Hospital, Banbury Road, Chipping Norton OX7 5SY. e-mail:

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DAVID Mills' Viewpoint article asks if evidence-based veterinary medicine (EBVM) is ethical (VR, August 15, 2015, vol 177, pp 181-182). Mr Mills points out three differences between human and veterinary medicine: veterinary patients cannot discuss their treatment with their doctor; veterinary patients cannot self-report, making it harder for vets than doctors to assess response to treatment; there is a great deal of high-quality clinical trial evidence available in human medicine, but very little in veterinary medicine. He then implies that, although evidence-based medicine (EBM) has been very beneficial in the human field, these differences may make it difficult to judge whether EBVM will be effective.

However, it is not clear why these factors should make it difficult to assess the effects of EBVM. Regarding the first two points, EBVM is applicable to human patients that cannot self-report, including in paediatrics, comatose patients, and …

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