How can veterinarians base their decisions on the best scientific evidence?

Student thesis: Doc typesDoctor of Veterinary Sciences


In the veterinary profession, as in human medicine, a great deal of time is spent in making diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive decisions in a complex and uncertain environment, where there is often a lack of optimal evidence. The Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) is an approach developed to better inform medical decisions. EBM refers to the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence from research for the care of an individual patient. The concept of EBM was first described in human medicine in the early 1990s and was introduced to veterinary medicine 10 years later. However, it is not clear that the EBM approach promulgated in human medicine could be applied to the same extent to veterinary medicine. In this thesis, we hypothesize that an evidence based veterinary medicine (EBVM) is essential but the way it is taught in human medicine is currently inadequate for veterinary medicine, and that appropriate tools of scientific information must be designed and developed. We suggest that systematic reviews can provide high level scientific evidence and we discuss their methodology and ways of reporting. We postulate that accurate summaries of those reviews could be published in educational literature to help veterinarians base their decisions on the best scientific evidence. The efficacy of such interventions should be proved scientifically by using strong research methodology such as randomized controlled trials and validated psychometric instruments that will be used to capture decisional profiles of veterinarians.
Date of Award8 Jun 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Namur
SupervisorNathalie Kirschvink (Supervisor), JEAN-JACQUES LETESSON (Jury), Joseph-Paul Beaufays (Jury), Yves Poumay (Jury), P Bonnet (Jury) & Claude Saegerman (Co-Supervisor)

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