When you take your pet to the vet, your informed consent must be obtained by the vet before any procedure is carried out or any medication is given. By definition, informed consent means you must be told about the side effects of any drugs administered or the dangers involved with any surgical procedure your pet may have to undergo.
Vets must abide by these guidelines which are part of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons own Code of Practice.
“Informed consent, which is an essential part of any contract, can only be given by a client who has had the opportunity to consider a range of reasonable treatment options, with associated fee estimates, and had the significance and main risks explained to them.” RCVS – Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons section 11.1
“RCVS Practice Standards Scheme Manual provides that for ‘General Practice’, signed consent forms are required for all procedures including diagnostics, medical treatments, surgery, euthanasia and when an animal is admitted to the care of a veterinary surgeon”. RCVS – Code of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons section 11.22
Please read the RCVS full guidelines
Almost every veterinary pharmaceutical can have side effects, including the most common – antibiotics and steroids - and you should be informed of these before they are prescribed to your pet.
Other drugs can have major and sometimes fatal adverse effects so insist your vet tells you about these before you give them to your pet. To enable you to make an informed decision about the best way to treat your pet you need to have all the information available to you. You need to weigh up the potential benefits of any procedure or medication with the risks associated with them.
If your pet does suffer any adverse reactions to medication and you were not advised prior to it being administered, please inform the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
It is you, the owner, that is ultimately responsible for your pet’s health so do your own research on any drug your vet wants to prescribe or any procedure your vet wants to carry out. Knowledge is paramount if you want to do the right thing for your beloved pet.