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CVO presents position on innovation in veterinary medicine

April 14, 2024

Veterinarians are encouraged to embrace the tools of the future, according to the College of Veterinarians of Ontario’s (College) new position on innovation in veterinary medicine.

“The practice of veterinary medicine is highly innovative and regularly makes use of technology to support innovation in care and access to veterinary treatments. Our Council’s new position reminds veterinarians of their professional obligations in this largely unregulated environment.” 

Dr. Wade Wright, President of the College

Council approved the position statement “Embracing Innovation in the Digital Age in Veterinary Medicine” at its March meeting. The position states, “The College acknowledges the need to experiment with new models of practice, new models of delivery, new diagnostic tools, and new approaches to treatment. Veterinarians faced with this future need to develop skills that support curiosity, critical analysis, balanced skepticism, and experimentation with the knowledge that this environment is largely unregulated.”

When embracing innovation, the position urges veterinarians to be attentive to data security, to thoroughly test all products, to explore the tool’s outcomes, and to consider potential biases which may exist in the analysis of the data.

“Our College recognizes advances, such as artificial intelligence and data analytics, present opportunities for animal health and welfare and we also realize this current environment has no government regulatory oversight. A veterinarian is accountable for their decisions to integrate new tools into their practice.” 

Jan Robinson, Registrar and Chief Executive Officer at the College

The Position Statement was developed with input from its Ontario Veterinary Regulatory Innovation Panel, established in 2023 to strengthen the acceptance and exploration of technology in the future delivery of veterinary medicine in Ontario.

The College Council is committed to managing the risks involved in the practice of veterinary medicine in Ontario and working to reduce any potential for harm to animals and to people. The College licenses more than 5,500 veterinarians and accredits over 2,400 veterinary facilities in Ontario.