Veterinarian’s Oath

Photo Credit: Shirley Zindler

I recently reread the Veterinarian’s Oath. It’s been modified only slightly since I first pledged to honor it when I graduated from veterinary school in 1982.

Given that you, my readers, interact with veterinarians on a regular basis, I thought you might be interested in reading the Veterinarian’s Oath. Here it is.

Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.

If I had a magic wand, I would add something about caring for the emotional well being of the client (the person holding the leash or cat carrier). How do you feel about this oath? If you held the magic wand, what would you change?

Wishing you and your four-legged family members a very happy new  year,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at,, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

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One Comment on “Veterinarian’s Oath

  1. I think you are right about caring for the pet owner as well. Particularly with end of life decisions. Grief counseling in veterinary care for both pet owners and the veterinarian. I know euthanasia is not easy on either end. One of the most common questions we see in our groups is “when do you know it’s time?”. Thank you for reposting the oath for all to read. It is quite a heavy responsibility. ~ Upright Canine Brigade. An advocacy group for dogs and pet parents with canine megaesophagus .

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