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The European College of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia (ECVAA) is the central authority regulating and certifying the standards of Specialization in Veterinary Anaesthesia in Europe.

The ECVAA is a member of the European Board of Veterinary Specialisation (EBVS), the authority responsible for the standards of all Veterinary Specialization in Europe.

The ECVAA was established as an independent organization of the Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists (AVA) by decision of the General Meeting of the AVA on April 26th, 1993.

The College was inaugurated on January 1st, 1995 and was formally registered in the Netherlands on May 22nd, 1997.

The ECVAA runs in association with the AVA. The AVA is the "shop window" for veterinary anaesthesia, dealing with political issues, running scientific meetings and supporting education. The ECVAA deals with certification and maintenance of the standards of Specialization in Veterinary Anaesthesia.

Together, the ECVAA and the AVA seek to improve the standards of veterinary anaesthesia across Europe. The College runs under its Constitution. Further information on the aims of the college, requirements for admission, enrolment as a Diploma candidate and training requirements are set out in the ECVAA Guide.

Read more on our association on our Wikipedia description page.

Read more on the history of the ECVAA early days.

ECVAA and AVA: what are they?

As medical doctors can become specialists in anaesthesia, internal medicine, surgery, ophthalmology and so on, veterinarians can also undergo postgraduate training to become specialists in similar disciplines.

The European College of Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia (ECVAA) is the central authority that regulates and certifies the standards of specialisation in veterinary anaesthesia in Europe. In December 2014, there were 159 Diplomates of the ECVAA (DipECVAA), and its current president is Dr. Federico Corletto. The European Board of Veterinary Specialisation (EBVS) coordinates the veterinary specialty organisations, of which 23 are officially recognised by EBVS. The ECVAA is one of these and was fully recognised by EBVS in 2003.

The Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists (AVA) was established in 1964. All Diplomates of ECVAA are also members of the AVA. The aims of both the AVA and the ECVAA are to improve standards of veterinary anaesthesia, analgesia and intensive care for all animals. Both organisations are consulted by the EU, national authorities and animal welfare associations for their expert opinion on matters related to anaesthesia, analgesia and protection of animal welfare in companion, production and laboratory animals. Diplomates may also be consulted to provide specialist opinion to both national and European medicines agencies during the registration process of veterinary drugs.

Another important goal of the ECVAA and AVA is to develop, supervise and assess continuing education programmes in veterinary anaesthesia, analgesia and intensive care in order to have competent and skilled veterinary anaesthetists working in veterinary practices across Europe.

How to become a European Veterinary Specialist in Anaesthesia and Analgesia

To become a European Veterinary Specialist in Anaesthesia and Analgesia, postgraduate veterinarians must enter a structured 3-4 year training programme. First of all, in order to consolidate the skills and knowledge gained at university, they must have either completed a rotating internship, which covers different specialties for at least one year, or worked as a veterinarian in general practice for two years. Then they must complete a three-year specialist postgraduate training programme in veterinary anaesthesia, analgesia and intensive care co-ordinated and supervised by a DipECVAA. This training must be carried out in approved centres where trainees can develop experience with all veterinary species, including small animals, large animals, non-conventional (exotic) species and laboratory animals, and with a wide variety of procedures including elective and emergency surgical and diagnostic procedures (CT, MRI, endoscopy, etc.). In addition, trainees will develop expertise in the management of critically ill patients undergoing surgical, diagnostic or other intensive care procedures.

At the end of the training period, trainees must submit a case log (a summary of the clinical cases that they have personally managed) and two case reports (written to a standard required for publication in a peer-reviewed, scientific journal). The clinical skills of a Diplomate must be accompanied by research acumen and adherence to good research practice. Therefore, trainees must publish two peer-reviewed articles in internationally-recognised scientific journals. Finally, the trainee must pass the written and practical/oral exams to be awarded the DipECVAA and the title of European Veterinary Specialist in Anaesthesia and Analgesia. In order to maintain their European specialist status, Diplomates of all European Colleges must undergo a recertification process every 5 years.

Why is it important to have a specialist dealing with animal anaesthesia and pain relief?

The role of specialist veterinary anaesthetists is becoming more important, partly because advances in surgical and diagnostic techniques are associated with increased risks to the patient. Moreover, specialists can ensure the highest standards of anaesthesia, peri- and postoperative pain management and overall patient rehabilitation. Recognition, assessment and treatment of acute and chronic pain in animals are becoming increasingly important as surgical techniques become increasingly invasive. All of these requirements demand a deep understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology, and of all the equipment used. However, anaesthesia is not only a list of drugs that could or should be administered to an animal, but also involves multiple, complex decision-making processes. Excellent technical and non-technical skills are also required. Veterinary anaesthetists must be able to collaborate closely with colleagues in other disciplines, such as surgery, internal medicine and diagnostic imaging. Often, the veterinary anaesthetist will monitor the patientís recovery in the intensive care unit and close collaboration with other specialists is vital in this situation.

Diplomates in Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia: how to contact them

Please, find HERE a map. Click on the State you are interested in and contacts of Diplomates will appear.

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