Guidelines of the Veterinary Practitioners Registration Board of Victoria
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Guideline 14 - Supply and use of veterinary medications

This guideline outlines the appropriate standard expected of a registered veterinary practitioner in the course of veterinary practice. It should be read in conjunction with other related guidelines.

Context to Guideline 14: Supply and use of veterinary medications

Veterinary practitioners are authorised to obtain, possess, use or supply most scheduled drugs and poisons for the lawful practice of their profession, i.e. for the veterinary treatment of animals under their care (pursuant to section 13 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 and the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017). The Board requires the establishment of a veterinary practitioner-owner-animal relationship to demonstrate that an animal is under the care of a veterinary practitioner.

The Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act 1992 and the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Regulations 2017 regulate veterinary chemical products and stock foods.

Veterinary practitioners should be familiar with the requirements of legislation related to the supply and use of veterinary medications. Non-compliance with the requirements of legislation in the supply and use of veterinary medications constitutes unprofessional conduct and may also be prosecuted under that legislation or under the provisions of the Veterinary Practice Act 1997.

Professional conduct under this guideline is demonstrated by the following:
14.1 A veterinary practitioner ensures that, prior to the supply, use, prescribing and administering of veterinary medications:
  1. the individual to whom the veterinary practitioner is supplying or prescribing veterinary medication is the owner of the animal or the designated representative of the owner
  2. a veterinary practitioner-owner-animal relationship exists
  3. the animal to which the veterinary medication is to be administered is under the care of the veterinary practitioner supplying the veterinary medication
  4. a therapeutic need exists for the prescribing of and/or administering of the veterinary medication
  5. all legal and regulatory requirements for the storage and handling of the veterinary medication are complied with and are recorded in the animal’s veterinary record
  6. appropriate veterinary medical records and documentation of the supply, selling, prescribing and/or administering of veterinary medication are maintained in compliance with the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 and the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017
  7. the quantity of veterinary medication supplied is appropriate for its purpose
  8. the basis for supply of the veterinary medication is the best interest of the animal’s well-being
  9. the owner understands the veterinary practitioner’s instructions about the veterinary medication
  10. the owner is able to administer the veterinary medication in accordance with the veterinary practitioner’s direction
  11. the owner understands and complies with specified withholding periods when administering the medication to animals in the human food chain
  12. the owner understands the implications relating to veterinary medications in the various racing industries
  13. provision is made for the care of an animal after administration of a veterinary medication (as needed).
14.2 On an owner's request, a veterinary practitioner provides the owner with a prescription for a scheduled veterinary medication if treatment of an animal with that medication is indicated. The veterinary practitioner may charge the owner a fee to provide the prescription.
14.3 A veterinary practitioner maintains true and accurate records of all veterinary medications administered or supplied and retains those records for at least seven (7) years.
14.4 A veterinary practitioner reports all adverse medication reactions to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority in accordance with its protocols and procedures.

Related guidance note

Related guidelines

Related legislation

Date of publication

In effect from 1 May 2021.

This Guideline revised 18 August 2022 - Guideline 14.2 added, previous Guideline 14.2 renumbered to 14.3, previous Guideline 14.3 renumbered to 14.4.

This material is current only at the time of publication and may be changed from time to time. The Board reviews and updates the Guidelines on a continuous basis to reflect changes in the science and knowledge base underpinning contemporary veterinary practice. The Board will take reasonable steps to inform the veterinary profession when such updates are released but it remains the responsibility of the individual veterinary practitioner to ensure that their knowledge and application of these Guidelines to their own practice is current.

While the Board has made every effort to ensure that the material in these Guidelines is correct in law, it shall not be liable to any veterinary practitioner or any other person or entity in relation to any claim, action or proceeding whatsoever (whether in contract, negligence or other tort or in proceedings seeking any other form of legal or equitable remedy or relief) for any inadequacy, error or mistake, or for any deficiency in the whole or any part of this document (including any updates incorporated in the document from time to time). A veterinary practitioner or any other person or entity acting upon the contents of this document acknowledges and accepts that this is the basis upon which the Board has produced these Guidelines and made them available to such person or entity.