Authority/Attending Veterinarian

The Attending Veterinarian (AV) at University of Massachusetts Amherst (the University) is responsible for all the duties listed in the Animal Welfare Act Regulations §2.331, the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals 8th Edition2 (the Guide) and listed in tThe IACUC Handbook Second Edition3.

The Guide (p.14) states “…. the institution must provide the AV with sufficient authority, including access to all animals, and resources to manage the program of veterinary care.” In accordance with the Guide and AWAR §2.33(2)4 the University fully authorizes the Attending Veterinarian to provide medical care and, if necessary, euthanasia to all “research animals”.  The Attending Veterinarian is not required to obtain approval from the Principal Investigator or any other parties prior to providing treatment or euthanasia to research animals.


“Research animals” are vertebrate animals used at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for research, research training, experimentation, biological testing, teaching and related activities, as well as to animals usually maintained on University premises being transported in the care of University personnel.

Policy Guidelines

  1. This policy pertains to the Attending Veterinarian (AV) or his/her designee(s) under the authority and/or direction of the AV.
  2. The AV has free access to all animals, but whenever reasonably possible, the AV or designee will solicit the input of the Principal Investigator (PI) or responsible research staff member(s) prior to implementing treatment or euthanasia of a research animal.
  3. If the responsible research staff member and the AV or designee disagree regarding the need for animal treatment or euthanasia, the AV or designee is authorized to implement any and all actions deemed necessary based on her/his medical judgment.
  4. In extreme and rare circumstances, it may be necessary for the AV or designee to implement animal treatment or euthanasia prior to contacting the PI or responsible research staff member.  The AV or designee will promptly notify the Principal Investigator or responsible research staff of the animal treatment or euthanasia. 

1.  Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations (2002)  pp. 36-37.  Published by United States Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service.
2. The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals 8th Edition (2011), National Academies Press, Washington DC
3. Silverman, J., Suckow, M.A., Murthy, S eds. (2007) The IACUC Handbook Second Edition  pp. 499 – 500.  Published by Taylor & Francis.
4. AWAR §2.33(2). Each research facility shall ensure that the attending veterinarian has appropriate authority to ensure the provision of adequate veterinary care and to oversee the adequacy of other aspects of animal care and use.