Resources for Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine

I write extensively about the ways in which alternative therapies are justified, and the problems with much of the evidence used to promote them. I talk less here about the way all veterinary therapies should be evaluated and appraised, through the processes of evidence-based veterinary medicine (EBVM). This is a subject I write and speak about often elsewhere, but which hasn’t been a major focus of this blog, though it is the EBVM approach which I use to evaluate all the therapies I do write about.

Since I suspect many readers will be interested in how the veterinary profession can do the best possible job determining the risks and benefits of the therapies we offer, I thought I would highlight a few resources that illustrate the EBVM approach. Even though these do not directly address the issues of alternative medicine, they demonstrate the kind of critical, science-based evaluation that should be applied to all veterinary treatment. It is this kind of appraisal which often reveals how little substance there actually is behind the claims made for many CAM practices.

The Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine Assocation (EBVMA) is the main organization promoting EBVM here in the U.S., and it is a great resource for learning more about EBVM and for veterinarians seeking to support an evidence-based approach.

The Centre for Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine (CEVM) at the University of Nottingham is a robust and vibrant center of research and teaching in EBVM. They have recently launched a couple of tools for veterinarians that illustrate the possiblities for the future of our profession.

The first is their new critically appraised topic database BestBETs for Vets  “BET” stands for Best Evidence Topic. The BestBETs concept was first developed for doctors working in emergency medicine (http://www.bestbets.org/). In collaboration with our medical colleagues, the folks at CEVM have developed a freely accessible database of BestBETs for veterinarians. Though the number of topics is currently small, this is a dynamic project which will eventually be an important resource for veterinarians interested in making the best, most evidence-based decisions.

The team at CEVM has also launched VetSRev. VetSRev is a freely-accessible online database of citations for systematic reviews of relevance to veterinary medicine and science.  As regular readers know, a systematic review is the most comprehensive and unbiased assessment of the total body of clinical research on any given subject. The number of systematic reviews in veterinary medicine has exploded in recent years, which makes it much easier for veterinarians to quickly and reliably find the “bottom line” for many diagnostic tests and treatments.

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11 Responses to Resources for Evidence-Based Veterinary Medicine

  1. v.t. says:

    Thanks for this, skeptvet, great resources.

    Now, how to incorporate EBVM into politics. Reading SBM and RI for example, is getting quite depressing of late!

  2. Rita says:

    Indeed, great resource of resources!

  3. skeptvet says:

    Yes, at the moment it seems like Australia and the UK are having a lot more success injecting science and reason into the politics of healthcare than we are here in the U.S.

  4. v.t. says:

    Yes, I’ve noticed that, and wonder how they’re doing it. More backbone, perhaps?

  5. Art says:

    Right now the skeptvet blog is the best source of EBVM. The author I suspects knows this but does not want to brag. Vin.com is even letting him post behind closed doors online where only vets are allowed to post,so veterinary politics may be changing.
    Art Malernee Dvm

  6. v.t. says:

    Art, what do you mean, behind closed doors? (inquiring minds want to know)

  7. v.t. says:

    Oops, should have read that twice. Now I know what you mean. On that note, don’t jinx it 🙂

  8. Art says:

    A EBVM source that is free, online, allowing the public to comment without expert opinion peer reviewed editing is a win win win. I tried something like brennen has here and found myself spending tons of time removing spam sometimes over a hundred spams a day. I think the spam was computer generated. One day there was about 20 porn pictures I had to remove. I find this website to be a superhuman one man effort on Brennan’s part. He is younger than I am and has communication writing abilities/medical knowledge far beyond any any veterinarian I have seen. I keep thinking someone must be helping him but now I suspect he may have super powers.:)
    His wife must be special also. Not every young vet would get away with telling their wife they were going to take up what must be a full time job here and not get paid for doing it.
    Art Malernee Dvm

  9. skeptvet says:

    Awww, shucks! Well, at least you’re right about my wife being something special! 🙂

  10. v.t. says:

    I have to agree, on all accounts. There was before, until skeptvet, virtually little out there for vet med blogs, save for a few steadfast bloggers but I think blogger fatigue was unavoidable for some of them. I understand the time, energy and focus it takes to blog, practice medicine, family and other obligations, so skeptvet and others are my heroes for sure. EBVM blogs are few and far between!

  11. Art Malernee Dvm says:

    Wireless. 0252145953

    A yellow cat owner ask me over the phone message about milk thistle
    Normally I would refer her to my website milk thistle information 

    http://www.ebvet.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=340

    But I had the owners phone number and used what brennen had written about it milk thistle.  I have a software program that I can text the owner so I sent her a text.

    http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2011/04/milk-thistle-in-dogs-and-cats/

    Brennan’s info was better than mine

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