The relationship between the administration of corticosteroids and the development of laminitis has recently received significant press in the UK because of the well publicised court case surrounding a French dressage horse based in this country. The article by Dutton (2007) provides a summary of this case. The majority of the legal arguments concerned the extent and apportionment of the duty of care between the attending local and visiting treating veterinary surgeon. This is, however, an uncommon situation and, although it serves as a reminder to all clinicians to be certain of their contractual duties to clients when carrying out treatment of a horse, this is not an everyday scenario. The legal case, once again, emphasises the importance of making contemporaneous notes and of obtaining informed consent from owners when performing procedures that may have any degree of risk associated with them. In an increasingly litigious society, it is necessary to practise the art of defensive veterinary medicine, since good clinical practice alone is not sufficient defence if clients can claim that they were not warned of potential complications. Clinicians are often in a difficult situation practically and may be called upon to treat horses in a competition
Equine Veterinary Journal – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2007
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