Use of dogs for teaching in veterinary schools


Ratification Date: 15 Oct 2010


The use of live animals in the teaching of veterinary science is essential.


The use of animals in the teaching of veterinary students is subject to the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes,1 which promotes the principles of reduction, refinement and replacement in relation to the use of animals.

However, their use is necessary for the following reasons:

  • Veterinary students need animals to learn about their behaviour, physiology and anatomy.
  • Veterinary students need animals to learn skills associated with examination and treatment.
  • Ultimately, the teaching of anaesthetic and surgical procedures can only be done effectively on live animals.
  • There are limitations to the availability, functionality and usefulness of teaching mannequins, cadavers or computer models, however where appropriate veterinary students may be taught using these methods.

The use of animals for teaching purposes is covered by legislation in most states and territories.

There are four potential sources of animals for teaching:

  1. Surrendered or unclaimed ‘pound’ animals that are destined for euthanasia.
  2. Animals seen in a clinical practice situation, when supervised by a registered veterinarian.
  3. Animals held at registered pounds or shelters to be re-homed but requiring treatment or sterilization. These procedures would be supervised by a registered veterinarian.
  4. Purpose-bred animals, which is the least acceptable.


Surgical procedures may be carried out considering the following:

  1. All operations must be performed under the direct supervision of registered veterinarians.
  2. Only animals that are destined for euthanasia or client owned with informed consent, should be used.
  3. All animals anaesthetised for non-recovery surgery must be euthanased immediately after the surgery without the animal regaining consciousness.
  4. When animals are to be allowed to recover from the surgical procedure and anaesthetic, appropriate pain relief and post-operative care need to be managed.

Those animals destined for euthanasia and used for teaching purposes in veterinary schools should also be subject to the following conditions:

  1. All procedures that are performed by students must have approval from an animal ethics committee of the university and must meet the requirements of the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes as well as relevant state or territory legislation.
  2. Animals should be kept and managed in accordance with the appropriate legislation and associated codes of practice.
  3. All animals intended for use should be submitted to a thorough clinical examination, and any animal found to be injured or diseased should be immediately euthanased.


  1. National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian code for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes . https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/australian-code-care-and-use-animals-scientific-purposes2009. Accessed 12 October 2019

Other relevant policies and position statements

Animal experimentation

Date of ratification by AVA Board 15 October 2010