Benefits and Burdens: Legal and Ethical Issues Raised by Veterinary Specialization

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3 Scopus citations


This chapter discusses the benefits and burdens of the legal and ethical issues raised by veterinary specialization. The increasing influence of specialization in veterinary medicine will bring more improvements in medical care for animals. As the number of specialties and specialists grows, so will legal and ethical responsibilities faced by all veterinarians—both specialists and generalists. The chapter provides an overview of distinctive legal and moral issues presented by veterinary specialization. These issues are of enormous practical importance. Veterinarians who ignore them can face litigation and its potential aggravation, economic cost, or loss of reputation. For the profession as a whole, the legal and ethical implications of specialization pose fundamental questions about how veterinarians want to relate to patients, clients, and colleagues. There are two major kinds of wrongdoing for which veterinarians can be sued in civil lawsuits by clients and others: intentional wrongs and negligence. Intentional wrongs (often referred to by lawyers as “intentional torts”) are actions the law recognizes as justifying a civil suit and are done with knowledge and intent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-296
Number of pages44
JournalAdvances in Veterinary Science and Comparative Medicine
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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