Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 22 July 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Doctors and dentists can now perform medical procedures on animals under new laws

Operating theatre
Stock photo: Chris Ison/PA Wire
Operating theatre Stock photo: Chris Ison/PA Wire
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Doctors and dentists be allowed to perform medical procedures on animals under new laws recently signed into force by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.

Up to now under the law registered veterinary practitioners where only allowed perform a procedure on an animal.

However, following a request to the Veterinary Council of Ireland from a vet seeking to have a medical consultant perform a complex cardiac operation on an animal.

It was established that there was no registered veterinary practitioner in the State who has the requisite skills to carry out the complex cardiac surgery.

The new law provides a legal mechanism where a veterinary practitioner may call on the assistance of an acknowledged expert medical or dental practitioner to assist in a complex procedure where there is no veterinary practitioner available with the necessary skills to carry out the procedure.

Procedures undertaken in such circumstances must be carried out in the presence of the veterinary practitioner who has requested the assistance and who retains responsibility for the welfare of the animal under his/her care.

Similar legal mechanism are already available in other jurisdictions.

There are however a number of stipulations.


A veterinary practitioner may, in respect of an animal under his or her care, request a registered medical practitioner or registered dentist to carry out a procedure on the animal if:

  • the procedure is unusually complex
  • the registered medical practitioner or dentist must have a high level of expertise in the field of medicine related to the procedure
  • if there is no veterinary practitioner with the requisite skill and experience available to carry out the procedure.

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