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Safer Anaesthesia in
Veterinary Medicine

Adverse events and medical errors in veterinary medicine are inevitable, and research has only just begun to shed light on the prevalence of these incidents. Medical errors can include those involving medications (e.g., wrong medication or wrong dose), misidentification of patients, and errors or delays in diagnosis. In human anaesthesia, there has been widespread emphasis on patient safety since the 1980’s which has seen a significant reduction in adverse events and near misses associated with anaesthesia. Unfortunately, there has been little focus on patient safety in veterinary anaesthesia and these same risks remain unacceptably high in animals.  While it is important to continue improving our veterinary anaesthetic practices with regards to technology and pharmacology, it is likely that our most significant improvements will be made via innovations regarding a patient safety culture.

Meet the Team

The SAVEM initiative is spearheaded by co-chairs Dr. Luiz Santos and Dr. Wendy Goodwin. The idea behind creating this website is to share educational material, discuss the challenges presented by medical errors and adverse events seen in veterinary anaesthesia and try to provide solutions as well as finding more ways to collaborate with veterinary professionals.


SAVEM is a not-for-profit, volunteer-based initiative dedicated to conducting high-quality education and research on best practices to reduce medical errors and improve patient safety in veterinary anaesthesia.

Dr Luiz Santos

Dr Luiz Santos

Board Certified Anaesthesiologist - University of Glasgow

Dr Wendy Goodwin

Dr Wendy Goodwin

Clinical Anaesthesiologist - University of Queensland

Dr John Ludders

Dr John Ludders

Board Certified Anaesthesiologist - Emeritus Professor - Cornell University

Dr Michelle McArthur

Dr Michelle McArthur

Clinical Psychologist - Associate Professor - University of Adelaide

Dr Nathan Koch

Dr Nathan Koch

Veterinary Surgeon and Flight Captain

Dr Catherine Oxtoby

Dr Catherine Oxtoby

Patient Safety and Human Factors Advocate Veterinary Defence Society - UK

Dr Erik Hofmeister

Dr Erik Hofmeister

Board Certified Anaesthesiologist - Professor of Veterinary Anaesthesia - Auburn University

What we do


Our Mission

Creat a workplace culture that strives to maximise patient safety and staff wellbeing in veterinary medicine. 


Education & Collaboration

Our Vision

  1. To promote a culture of patient safety in veterinary anaesthesia.

  2. To enhance anaesthesia practices in order to mitigate adverse events and medical errors

  3. To help change the mindset from “blame culture” to a “just and learning culture”.



Our goal is to promote an educational opportunity for veterinary practices worldwide. With access to our resources, veterinarians and vet nurses can become empowered by their own abilities to confidently perform safe anaesthesia.

Veterinary Medical Schools are responsible for establishing anaesthetic standards and habits of new graduates, yet there is often limited awareness of common safety aspects when anaesthesia is delivered to patients in clinical practice. The group of scientists working at SAVEM aim to develop and implement strategies to reduce the gap between best practice and that which is delivered to veterinary patients. In order to achieve this, our research goals are directed towards specific safety tools and behaviours, such as checklists, critical incident reporting and methods to promote a culture of safety in veterinary anaesthesia.


“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

- Benjamin Franklin

Featured Video

We need to talk about errors

We need to talk about errors

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Become a member

Membership benefits include:

  • Discounted fees on high quality, RACE approved, online anesthesia-related continuing education

  • Members-only online resources unlocked with your login


Contact SAVEM

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