Tufts OpenCourseware
How does law impact veterinarians? (Images courtesy of Paul Waldau.)
Highlights of this Course

This course follows the first-year Human-Animal Relationships course and precedes the third-year course Ethics and Veterinary Medicine. It continues the emphasis on the importance of familiarity with social values and trends, including those evident in law, for the individual veterinarian. We also look time and again at the significance of values and trends for veterinary education more generally and, of course, the profession of veterinary medicine as a whole.  Throughout all these courses, offerered in the Cummings' School of Veterinary Medicine Ethics and Values Signature program, students engage in the role of veterinarian, veterinary education, and the veterinary profession as a whole.

Course Description

This course acquaints students with basic concepts of law, as well as ethics. The course also seeks to enable students to practice medicine more prudently through application of legal rules. Although substantive standards of law are presented, the course stresses the role of process and creative thought in the development and application of legal and moral principles.

Note also the emphasis on process and creative thought in the description course goals include far more than memorizing the current state of "law" regarding veterinary medicine.  We aim to understand the general issues, for they will continue throughout your career to grow, develop, and otherwise change in ways that are unpredictable now.

Note, finally, that all of the goals in this course are relevant, in one way or another, to the important practical aspects of veterinary medicine. Prudence, acquisition of technical, medical and scientific knowledge, and familiarity with contemporary issues being discussed in the profession and in society.  All of these are practical requirements for any competent professional. We will turn again and again to practical situations to hone your skills at recognizing the many kinds of legal and values-based issues that characterize veterinary medicine.

Please note that the course as presented here does not contain the full content of the course as taught at Tufts. The included content is based on material the Tufts faculty and instructors choose to include, as well as factors such as content preparation, software compatibility, and intellectual property and copyright restrictions.
Course Faculty
Paul Waldau
Course Length
14 Hours