Medical and veterinary sciences have long been based on observation and appraisal, but in today’s world of instant access to information and knowledge, approaching these professions in a different way is essential. Medical doctors’ and veterinarians’ practices are in many ways similar, but there are substantial differences, such as the veterinarian-client-patient relationship, funding and insurance models and expectations of end of life care, to name but a few. This means EBVM, although based on similar principles, must be different from EBM.
The principles of EBM are now common place in human healthcare, but how has using an evidence base been approached in veterinary practice?
The Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine Association (EBVMA) in North America was founded in 2004 to improve the co-ordination and communication between individuals promoting research, teaching, and clinical application of EBVM to practice (Slater, 2010). In 2009, the Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine (CEVM) at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom was established. This centre has adapted a number of EBM methodologies to the veterinary profession. The RCVS Knowledge, also focusses on the promotion of EBVM internationally and publishes an online resource Veterinary Evidence, and a number of different research groups (Savsnet, 2014; VetCompass, 2014), professional organisations (BEVA, 2014; BSAVA, 2014) and practitioners are now becoming involved in EBVM.
It’s still early days for EBVM, and the evidence base is growing quickly.
EBVM is taking off, and with growing support from key professional bodies such as the RCVS, BVA and affiliated associations, AVMA, vet schools internationally as well as veterinary practices and practitioners, the quantity of evidence is likely to grow in each of the various specialist areas of the profession.