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Why are you recommending that RVNs be allowed to perform cat castrations again?

Over the years, the veterinary nursing profession has expanded and developed considerably, and RVNs are now an allied profession in their own right, regulated by the RCVS under its Royal Charter powers. This was not always the case. In 1988 a Statutory Instrument (SI) was introduced that aimed to protect animal welfare by reserving certain tasks to veterinary surgeons that had previously been performed by untrained lay people. This included cat castrations, as at this time the veterinary nursing profession was newly formed and the Schedule 3 amendment to the VSA which allowed for VNs to undertake minor acts of veterinary surgery was still three years away.

This effectively removed the ability for VNs to carry out cat castrations. However, the LWP recognises that the veterinary nursing profession has developed significantly since the introduction of the SI. Veterinary nurses are no longer ‘lay people’, but are properly regulated allied professionals in their own right. The LWP also considered the work of the Veterinary Nursing Schedule 3 Working Party, and its survey of both vets and VNs, which supported VNs being able to undertake additional work that is not currently permitted, including cat castrations. The LWP therefore recommends that RVNs should be able to carry out cat castrations, a relatively low-risk procedure, under the direction and supervision of a veterinary surgeon. A veterinary surgeon would always need to be on hand to assist should complications develop.