New ASV Guidelines to serve as a set of standards for veterinary care
The ASV (Association of Shelter Veterinarians) recently released the latest version of Care guidelines for animal shelters. The guidelines include various components such as expanded research, additional references, and new topics that address disaster and forensics response.
The new guidelines precede the first published edition by ASV, which was published in 2010 in order to offer fact-based backing to individuals taking care of animals in sanctuaries, fosters, rescues, shelters, and other similar settings.
This latest edition for care in Anamika shelters characterizes the first update of the ASV document since the launch of the first edition a decade ago.
The Force Behind the Guidelines
The ASV, also known as the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, is a professional organization established for shelter veterinarians. As of now, the association is composed of more than 2000 members. The ASV stays true to its core mission to support and advance the shelter medicine practice to help improve community animal well-being and health.
Since its establishment over two decades ago, the ASV has managed to acquire notable achievements within the veterinary shelter medicine field. As the organization grows, ASV hopes to continue and update its educational platforms and guideline accordingly.
The ASV is run under the leadership of individuals that are deeply rooted in the study and knowledge of shelter medicine, promoting and practicing improved animal community help daily while also working under the ASV on a volunteering basis.
What is the Intend of the Guidelines?
In a similar manner, the recent guidelines are meant to serve as a standard for any organization-based improvement and self-assessment, a foundation for shelter regulation, and a set of frameworks for various shelter consultations as well.
This second, newer edition of guidelines from the ASV is the hard labor of almost three years of effort. The goal is to have such a document reflect the breadth and diversity of tasks that professionals engaged in animal shelters face frequently.
The guidelines were unveiled on January 17 at the Veterinary meet and expo based in Florida. The meet & Expo is one of the most well-known conferences for veterinary.
The publication of such a document sheds light on the much-needed care and dedication established toward veterinary care. As stated by Tom Van Winkle, the Exec-director of ASV, since the establishment of the association, equal commitment to advance and establish consistent care among animal shelters has been maintained.
The Exec-director continues by stating that the advancement in research along with the shift regarding shelter medicine signaled a crucial time to renew such guidelines to offer the top possible asset to veterinarians and shelters everywhere.
According to the ASV task force co-chair, Dr. Erin Doyle, the leading principle behind these guidelines is to meet the emotional and physical needs of animals irrespective of the organization’s mission or challenges faced in meeting such needs.
Although the new edition varies slightly from the first edition, it still supports the same goals maintained in the original document. The goals include various components such as:
• Common set of standards for the welfare and care of companion shelter animals based on expert consensus and scientific evidence.
• Guidance to help various animal welfare organizations to reduce disease, stress, and overcrowding while improving safety.
• A tool to be used by animal welfare communities and organizations to improve and assess their shelters.
• Act as a reference for creating statutes and regulations around benchmarks and sheltering for organizational change.
• Guidance towards animal housing in facilities that already exist and prioritizing new construction design.
These are some goals highlighted as per the new guidelines, prompting recent changes within the animal shelter care scene.
The New Guidelines Use New Approach and Models
The senior director of Shelter Medicine & Residency Programs American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Dr. Doyle, explains that, unlike the first edition of this ethical framework, which was on the basis of the five freedoms, the new edition uses another model.
The five freedoms used for the first edition included freedom from malnutrition, hunger, and thirst; freedom from disease, injury, and pain; freedom from distress and fear; freedom from discomfort; and freedom to display normal behavior.
Now, the model used in the latest edition, i.e., the 5 Domains Model, includes a much broader approach to evaluating animal welfare. It contains an extra focus on curating more opportunities for successful experiences along with reducing the negative ones under the realms of mental state, behavior, health, environment, and nutrition.
Much like the original guidelines, the recent guidelines are also written for every personnel caring and nurturing shelter animals in various settings. This includes SPCAs and nonprofit humane societies, foster-based organizations, sanctuaries, and municipal animal service facilities. Moreover, the guidelines apply to other organizations routinely caring for many companion animals as well.
What exactly does it touch Upon?
The new guidelines touch on various topics related to vet and animal care, including:
• Animal handling.
• Management & record keeping.
• Population management.
• Shelter surgery.
• Medical health.
• Behavior & mental welfare. .
• Animal transport & relocation programs.
• Public health.
• Disaster response.
The guidelines are somewhat limited in terms of scope, as suggested by Dr. Doyle, as it primarily places focus on dogs and cats along with the “why” and “what” of a certain standard instead of how it must be implemented.
Moreover, the guidelines ensure the use of words like “ideal,” “must,” and “unacceptable” to assist shelter communities in better emphasizing levels of care.
Along with the release of this new guideline edition, the ASV also released another publication called the Journal of Shelter Medicine & Community Animal Health in order to promote evidence base within the area of community and shelter veterinary medicine.
Founded over two decades ago in 2001, ASV now has 2,000+ active members along with 20 international and national student chapters. During the same period of establishment, the ASV also aided in the development of the first-ever shelter medicine residency (University of California-Davis).
So far, the veterinary conferences held have included shelter medicine tracks along with shelter medicine specialty, courtesy of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.