How subconscious bias can get in the way of pet care

November 27, 2019
Jennifer Johnson, VMD, CVPP

Find out why using objective measures might is a preferred method for assessing pain and quality of life in pets.

Unlike humans, pets can't tell you if treatment is working. As a result, pet owners and veterinarians often rely on observations and judgments for answers. However, personal bias can get in the way of assessing pain management and quality of life, says Jennifer Johnson, VMD, CVPP, current president-elect of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAMPM). This is called the placebo-effect, she says.

Dr. Johnson, who’s speaking at this year’s Fetch dvm360 conference in San Diego, told dvm360 that pet owners and even veterinarians want treatments to work so much that they may “fudge” results.

“Which is why we look at more objective ways to measure pain, which is where thermal imaging comes in, really doing objective measurements, really getting down to the root of the problem, she said.

Watch the video below to find out more about the placebo effect.