Skip to main content

AAEP Ethical and Professional Guidelines

Standards of Profession

Professional ethics embodies the behaviors of honesty, integrity and kindness while obeying rules and regulations set forth with mutual respect for opinion and preservation of dignity in interpersonal relationships. The conduct should be in a manner that will enhance the worthiness of the profession. The ethical practice of medicine includes those remedies and treatments that have, as their short or long-term goal, the health and welfare of the horse.

All members of the AAEP are expected to comply with (a) the code of Ethics of the AAEP (or counterpart in foreign countries); (b) the AAEP’s Ethical and Professional Guidelines, Bylaws and procedures of their enforcement; (c) the code of Ethics of the veterinary medical association of the state or province in which licensed; (d) all rules and regulations of racing applicable at race tracks where practicing; (e) rules of organizations governing horse shows, sales, equine events and the rules of all breed registries in relation to veterinary practices; and (f) all other laws of the land. Members and Veterinarians should be honest and fair in their relations with others, and they should not engage in fraud, misrepresentation or deceit. Violation of any of the foregoing may constitute cause for revocation or denial of membership in the AAEP.

Organizations and regulatory agencies within the industry notify the AAEP of violations (committed by an AAEP member) within their respective jurisdictions. Additionally, there is a process for members to file complaints against other members. Each case involving an AAEP member is reviewed by the AAEP Professional Conduct and Ethics Committee for disciplinary consideration and a recommendation is forwarded to the Executive Committee for final action. It should be noted that AAEP can exercise disciplinary action only in connection with its own members.

Reviewed by AAEP board of directors in 2010.


AAEP position statements are created to establish AAEP policy, which serve as guidelines for the practitioner and the equine industry. As such, they do not have the force of law. All position statements issued by the AAEP should be regarded as one of several tools that a practitioner may take into consideration in the context of his or her practice. All practitioners are encouraged first and foremost to understand and comply with the laws, regulations and standard of care of their appropriate jurisdiction. While position statements are intended to set a standard for veterinary practice, lack of adherence to any specific AAEP position statement does not constitute grounds for disciplinary action. The AAEP can exercise disciplinary action only in connection with its own members and its action is limited to denial of membership in the AAEP. The AAEP shall have no liability whatsoever for any position statement.

A subcommittee of the AAEP board reviews all of the AAEP guidelines and position statements every five years. Any proposed revisions are approved by a vote of the full board. Dates listed in parenthesis indicate either the date the original statement was approved or the approval date of the latest revision. Note: Prior to 2014, the AAEP’s Resource Guide and Membership Directory included several policies from the American Veterinary Medical Association, specifically: AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics; AVMA Guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine; AVMA Animal Abuse and Animal Neglect; AVMA Animals Used in Entertainment, Shows, and for Exhibition; AVMA Humane Transport of Equines; and AVMA Certificates of Veterinary Inspection. To view these and other AVMA policies, please visit https://www.avma.org/kb/policies/pages/default.aspx.

Click here to view all of AAEP's Position Statements.