Questions to Consider Making Decisions on Elective vs. Non-Elective Care

Questions to Consider Making Decisions on Elective vs. Non-Elective Care


In determining if a procedure is elective or non-elective, NJVMA suggests considering the following questions; if you answer “no” to any of these questions, the procedure can be considered elective and postponed; if you answer “yes” to any question, the procedure can be considered non-elective and may take place.

  • Is this procedure necessary to save the animal’s life?
  • Is this procedure, exam, test etc. necessary to alleviate pain or suffering?
  • Does this prevent zoonotic disease?
  • Can this case be managed in a way that mitigates the human health risks of COVID-19 transmission between the veterinary staff, owner, and their respective families and communities?
  • Would this procedure require the use of scarce personal protective equipment resources needed for critical human medical care?
  • Or can this patient safely wait until resources are less scarce and human health risks are lower?


For non-elective cases that typically require the use of protective equipment like gloves and masks, please review the latest from the AVMA on the conservation of these supplies: Please go to https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/covid-19/guidelines-ppe-covid-19-pandemic-demand-exceeds for the latest guidelines from AVMA on techniques for conservation of PPE.