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Whose role is preventive healthcare in the veterinary practice?
  1. Hilary Orpet
  1. Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead House, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, UK
  1. e-mail: horpet{at}rvc.ac.uk

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With the development of veterinary nursing as a profession we should be considering what role they play within the veterinary practice and how the public perceive this role. A study by Belshaw and others,1 summarised on p 296 of this week’s Vet Record, is therefore a timely addition to the work being carried out by the Centre for Evidence Based Veterinary Medicine at Nottingham,2 investigating aspects of the relationships small animal veterinary practices have with their clients.

The study1 examines the roles of veterinary nurses and receptionists from the perspective of the client, as well as the veterinary surgeon. Perhaps the most alarming aspect uncovered was that most clients and even some veterinary surgeons are unsure about the role of the Registered Veterinary Nurse (RVN), more specifically, their remit in providing advice to clients regarding preventive healthcare. This highlights the importance of identifying roles and responsibilities within the veterinary practice, with particular focus on preventive veterinary healthcare and the wider remit of interprofessional practice.

Preventive healthcare in veterinary practice

Preventive healthcare is a large component of the veterinary caseload in the UK.3 Advice about a number of topics including neutering, parasite control or dental care may be sought explicitly by the client or may be encountered during more specific health-related consultations.4 The annual vaccination consultation provides an ideal opportunity to discuss these topics and perhaps suggest further consultations with other members of the veterinary team.

What you need to know

  • Many clients and vets are unsure …

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