Authority of the Attending Veterinarian


The term Attending Veterinarian is defined in the Animal Welfare Act as an individual who has received training or experience in the care of the species being attended and who has direct or delegated authority for activities involving animals. This individual shall provide adequate veterinary care and if part time or a consultant must provide a written program of veterinary care and regularly scheduled visits to the facility. The facility shall assure that the Attending Veterinarian has appropriate authority to ensure the provision of adequate veterinary care. The Attending Veterinarian shall be a voting member of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Programs of veterinary care assured by the Attending Veterinarian must include provision of appropriate facilities, personnel, and equipment to assure compliance with regulatory requirements. Further, prevention, control, diagnosis and treatment of disease; daily observation, weekend and holiday care for animals; guidance to principal investigators regarding care, handling, immobilization, anesthesia, tranquilization and euthanasia; as well as pre- and post-procedural care must be assured by the Attending Veterinarian. Because of the diversity of animal species and decentralized nature of the animal care and use program at BU, the duties of the Attending Veterinarian may be shared and delegated to other veterinarians, but the assurance of compliance remains the responsibility of the Attending Veterinarian. If any of these duties are to be shared or delegated, these responsibilities shall be delineated in writing.


The term “Veterinarian of Record” is used to describe a veterinarian who has been assigned the responsibility to provide oversight and compliance functions within various facilities that are a part of the BU animal care and use program but may not serve on the institutional animal care and use committee. These individuals are responsible to the Attending Veterinarian or designee regarding assurance of compliance and may be invited by the IACUC to participate as an ad hoc consultant or reviewer.

The “Clinical Veterinarian” is the person who provides hands on clinical care for animals that are a part of the BU animal care and use program.   These individuals are responsible to the Attending Veterinarian or designee regarding care and welfare of animals and may be invited by the IACUC to participate as an ad hoc consultant or reviewer.


Currently, the Director of the BU ASC is the Institutional Attending Veterinarian for both campuses and may delegate some or all of the duties of Attending Veterinarian in writing for any facility at BU to any of the veterinarians who reports directly in this capacity to the Attending Veterinarian.   The Attending Veterinarian remains fully responsible for these compliance matters whether they are delegated or not.  This includes all facilities at BU where USDA covered species are housed including any satellite facilities not directly managed by the ASC.  Each of these individuals works closely with other veterinarians to assure appropriate delivery of service and to assure compliance:  The Attending Veterinarian may instruct the Veterinarian of Record or a Clinical Veterinarian to perform medical care or euthanasia if such person can provide such actions on a timelier basis.

  1. This policy pertains to the attending veterinarian and any person(s) acting as designee(s) under the authority and/or direction of the attending veterinarian.  In some areas, one person may fill all three of the veterinary roles described above, while in others there may be multiple veterinarians fulfilling these roles.   Only the Attending Veterinarian may authorize
  2. This policy includes both animals owned by BU, BU investigators and/or research animals on BU premises.
  3. When possible, the attending veterinarian (and/or authorized designee) will solicit the input of the principal investigator or responsible research staff member(s) prior to implementing treatment or euthanasia of a research animal.
  4. If the responsible research staff member and the attending veterinarian (or designee) are not in concurrence regarding the need for animal treatment or euthanasia, the attending veterinarian (or designee) is authorized to implement action based on her/his medical judgment.
  5. In extreme and rare circumstances, it may be necessary for the attending veterinarian (or designee) to implement animal treatment or euthanasia prior to contacting the responsible research staff member. The attending veterinarian will promptly notify the principal investigator of animal treatment or euthanasia.

BU IACUC Approved January 2014