The possible advantages and disadvantages of a treatment should be considered, primarily in light of the welfare needs of the animal(s). The decision-making process should also include the context within which the animal(s) is cared for, the logistics of treatment, and the circumstances and values of the vet, practice, animal and owner.
As well as balancing the potential benefits and risks of a treatment we should also assess its appropriateness considering the wider context of the animal(s).
Many different external factors influence whether a treatment is appropriate for a patient(s). This may include husbandry factors, the practicality of treatment for the animal(s) and owner, the capability of staff within your practice, and the circumstances and views of the owner, among others.
For example, if a beef farm operates with its cows at pasture all year round it may not be feasible for the farmer to medicate an individual every single day. Prescribing a medication that requires daily individual administration would not be the best choice in this individual’s situation, even if it is the most effective medication for the condition you are presented with.
Similarly, the best treatment option could require specialised equipment or a specific skill set that your practice does not have access to. If referral is not an option, then this treatment may not be appropriate in this case.
It is important to discuss both positives and negatives of a recommended treatment with owners to allow them to make a properly informed decision.
REMEMBER: Always ask yourself about the practicalities of your treatment options in light of the animal(s) full situation.