New Bolton Center Kennett Square, PA
Emergencies & Appointments:
Ryan Hospital Philadelphia, PA
VMD-MSW now offered at Penn Vet

NBC Ethics Consultation Service-Patient Care


The Ethics Consultation Service is available to assist any client of New Bolton Center who has ethical concerns related to the care of their animal. Ethical concerns can come up when you and the veterinary team must make difficult medical decisions that may challenge personal values or beliefs. At times, you and members of the team may not agree with each other or with various caretakers (trainers, other family members, your regular veterinarian). You may feel stressed and confused about the choices you face. Our ethics team is here to help you and your veterinary team work together to make important decisions about your animal’s care.

Examples of ethical concerns: 

  • A treatment plan may conflict with your cultural or spiritual beliefs.
  • Your care team may be recommending euthanasia and you feel your animal could be saved.
  • You have concerns about your animal’s level of pain.
  • You have concerns about your animal’s quality of life.
  • You may prefer a natural death over euthanasia.

How can I contact the ethics consultation service?

Please call our appointment desk (610-444-5800) and you will be put in contact with a member of the ethics consultation service. Or email JoAnn Slack, BS, DVM, MS at

What can I expect during a consultation?

An ethics consultation service member will ask you to share information about your ethical concerns. They will also speak with your animal’s veterinary care team. The consultant will work to help you and the care team understand each other's concerns, while creating a safe environment to facilitate open discussion. The ethics consultation team will also explore options and possible solutions.

After an ethics consult, you and the veterinary care team will continue to partner to care for your animal. The Ethics Consultation Service will be available for follow-up as needed.

Our Team

  • Page Buck, PhD, LSW Social Worker
  • Liz Arbittier, BA, VMD, Veterinarian, Ambulatory Equine Practice and Professional Ethics
  • Sarah Colmer, Veterinarian Internal Medicine/Neurology
  • Klaus Hopster, DMV, PhD, Veterinarian, Anesthesia and Pain Control
  • Elizabeth Nelson, BVSc, DACVIM (Large Animal) Internal Medicine
  • Meghann Pierdon, BA, VMD: Veterinarian Animal Welfare
  • Christopher Rizzo, LVT, VTS (EVN, LAIM) Veterinary Lead Nurse, High Risk Patient Care
  • Joann Slack, BS, DVM, MS Veterinarian, Cardiology/Ultrasound