Vets to debate benefits of pre-purchase consultation at the year’s top animal welfare event

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Pre-purchase consultations will be on the agenda at the upcoming Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) Discussion Forum in London on 12 June, with British Veterinary Association (BVA) Past President and PDSA vet Sean Wensley and Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) Past President Stephanie Writer-Davies leading a discussion on how veterinary practices can draw in prospective pet owners in a way that benefits both animal welfare and business.

More than eight in ten companion animal vets (82%) say their practice offers pre-purchase information for people interested in buying a pet, results from BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey show. Most practices offer this information as part of routine consultations, but many also share advice and information for prospective owners via social media (28%) and printed materials (26%).

The afternoon ‘Practice Practicals’ session, ‘How practice management strategies can benefit animal welfare’, will be chaired by James Hutton Institute Honorary Fellow and former AWF Trustee Pete Goddard. Sean Wensley will use the PDSA ‘Which Pet?’ consultation framework as an example to explore the idea of dedicated Pre-Purchase Clinics for prospective owners, while Stephanie Writer-Davies will look at how expanding the remit of veterinary practices to include a broader audience could work in practice, and the benefits it could bring.

Chris Laurence, AWF Chair of Trustees, said:
“In an ideal world, prospective animal owners would visit a veterinary practice for advice before making the decision to take on a new animal. But with many practices not marketing themselves to potential owners, a lot of future clients don’t identify vets and vet nurses as a source of advice prior to purchase. By exploring both a business as well as an animal welfare case for offering dedicated pre-purchase clinics, this session seeks to encourage practices to consider new approaches to building vet-client relationships.”
John Fishwick, President of the British Veterinary Association, said:
“Veterinary practices are well-placed to engage with prospective pet owners in their community to offer reliable advice on the pet that would be most suited to them, discuss animal welfare needs and other factors to take into account before they take on a pet.
“This is an exceptional conference that provides a wonderful opportunity for vets, vet nurses, animal welfare organisations, students, the media and parliamentarians to step outside their busy professional lives and jointly confront current welfare issues. I would encourage as many people as possible to attend, hear from the experts on these important issues and contribute to the discussions.”

One of the best-loved CPD events of the veterinary calendar, the Discussion Forum gives delegates the chance to take part in lively, interactive debate and enjoy the company of influential and respected members of the veterinary profession and the field of animal welfare. Veterinary professionals who are unable to attend can join the conversations by following @AWF_VETS and using the hashtag #AWFDebate on the day.

The day’s other sessions include the ‘Big Debate’, chaired by Angela Smith MP, which will examine the role of insurance providers and vets in maintaining good animal welfare, and a Q&A session chaired by AWF Trustee and BVA Junior Vice President Simon Doherty, which will look at how vets can influence client behaviour to improve animal welfare.

Following the event, AWF and BVA will jointly host a reception at the House of Commons offering delegates the opportunity to continue discussing the day’s issues with parliamentarians and policymakers.