Addressing questionable ethics

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Jan 01, 2006

The veterinarian I work for has questionable ethics; he treats animals in ways that clients wouldn't approve. Can I do anything about it?

First, establish whether his behavior is a violation of professional ethics and/or your moral ethics, says Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, an attorney and owner of Veterinary Business Advisors Inc. in Whitehouse Station, N.J. Dr. Lacroix suggests reviewing the AVMA's Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics. Then, if he's violating the AVMA code, tell the other practice owners, if there are any, and/or try to resolve your concerns with the veterinarian. If all else fails, then report the violation to the AVMA and your state VMA.

If you don't report it, and harm comes to a patient, she says, it may not just be about ethics—it may be a legal issue. "And the situation could reflect on the rest of the staff, as well," Dr. Lacroix says.


Dr. Charlotte Lacroix
"If you decide that it's a disagreement of personal morals, there's little you can do," says Dr. Lacroix. "But you may want to consider seeking alternative employment."