An Introduction to Veterinary Medical Ethics, Theory and Cases
Bernard E. Rollin

Review by Kathy Lyon Star
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This book is Out of Print.

Veterinary Medical Ethics

It was with some hesitation that I jumped into this review so soon after the discussion that resulted from the review of The Unheeded Cry (Ethics folder, beginning on 2/26/01), but after reading this book, I feel that discussion was premature. In a book full of cases, there were none that I felt would offend any veterinarian I know. Dr. Rollin presents his cases in a logical and unemotional manner.

The book has a long chapter on Theory, an important preamble to the cases. There are interesting concepts in this chapter, but I found that I wanted to read more on the development of ethical solutions. I would like to have learned more about analyzing and resolving questions in complicated cases.

The section on cases has a lot of no-brainers; I think that all but the incredibly unethical or dense would miss getting the point. Some are harder to resolve, but the solution presented on the following page serves to elaborate on all of the points to be considered. The cases are indexed, so the reader can find almost any dilemma/resolution to compare with an actual, in-clinic, case.

The cases of clients wanting to euthanize a healthy pet for convenience are more numerous, but presented in different scenarios so that the answers, although always the same, have different etiologies and arguments. One could easily find a topic and permit the client to read the chapter to enhance an argument against such an act.

Many of the cases (malpractice in a neighboring practice, medical mistakes by your employer, breeder-clients selling sick animals, surgical alteration of show/racing animals, etc.) are of a more sensitive nature. These cases illustrate logical, as well as ethical, answers and may help smooth over some difficult moments. It will be especially useful for those practicing in small towns where a decision on how to handle a touchy situation may live with the veterinarian forever.

There are many topics that veterinarians encounter in practice: suspected dog fighting, confidentiality of an employee's drug abuse, homeopathic treatment, client sale of known BVD shedders, found-dog dilemmas, and poor air quality of swine barns - just to name a few. In all, 82 cases are presented in an interesting format.

I was somewhat disappointed in the resolutions presented in two cases (females offended by unwelcome attention from a male colleague, and crude humor voiced by colleagues). In the first case, I was surprised that directly speaking with the colleague was not addressed. I disagree that the best solution is to resign; it may be the easiest, but no one should be made to resign under this sort of situation. In the second case, I thought polite ways to discourage future occurrences (without ruining the esprit de corps) should have been suggested.

All in all, I enjoyed the book. Dr. Rollin is a bit wordy, but if you want to know all sides, arguments, and history you must patiently read through. Ultimately, you will find that the points are well taken and presented so that the reader might better understand the nuances involved in formulating an ethical decision.

Blackwell Publishing (1999).

417 Pages.

ISBN-13: 978-0813816593.

Reviewed 3/14/2001.


Table of Contents
Book Reviews
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Introduction
Alternative Medicine
Anatomy
Anesthesia/Analgesia
Animal Welfare
Aquatic/Fish
Avian
Behavior
Camelids
Canine
Cardiology
Client Education
Cytology / Hematology / Histology
Dental
Dermatology
Dictionary/Reference
Drugs/Pharmacology
Emergency Med
Endocrine
Epidemiology
Equine
Ethics
 
Complementary Alternative Med.
 
Veterinary and Animal Ethics: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Veterinary and Animal Ethics, September, 2011
 
You are here* Intro. Vet. Ethics
 
* Unheeded Cry Expanded Ed.
Exotics
Feline
Food Animals/Livestock
General
Genetics
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Handling & Restraint
Human-Animal Bond
Imaging & Radiology
Immunology
Infectious Diseases
Internal Medicine
Laboratory Medicine
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Orthopedics
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Physiotherapy
Practice Management
Primates
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Shelter Medicine
Surgery
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Urology/Renal
Veterinary Education
Wildlife-Zoo Animals
Zoonoses

Date Published: March 14, 2001

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