The New Year sees a change in veterinary medicine prescribing regulations introduced by the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons – the regulatory body for the veterinary profession in the UK), in addition to those already in force since September 2023. These changes are to ensure responsible use of medications and reduce the impact on the environment. Here is a recap of the guidance and how this may affect our clients.

– Prescription only medications can only be prescribed after a veterinary assessment, in most cases this will involve a physical (in person) examination, but may be able to be done remotely e.g. via a telephone consult, however this is up to the discretion of the prescribing vet.

– Vets are not allowed to prescribe certain medications without a physical exam, unless exceptional circumstances apply, this includes all antibiotics (including antibiotic drops and creams for eye, ear and skin infections), prescription-only flea and worm treatments and controlled drugs (e.g. seizure medications and strong painkillers such as gabapentin)

– For longer term prescription medications that are not antibiotics (e.g. incurin, meloxidyl), a regular clinical review is required every 6 months (or 3 months in some cases).

The changes in the regulations mean you may be asked to bring in your animal for an examination to allow us to abide by these rules, even if they have previously been prescribed medication remotely or as a repeat prescription.

With regard to prescription-only flea and worm treatments, implementation of these regulations will be enforced from January 12th 2024.

– We can still sell non-prescription flea, tick and worm treatments without seeing your pet

– In most cases the annual check at your pet’s vaccination (booster) should be adequate to prescribe flea and worm treatments for the next 12 months

– At the appointment the vet will prescribe a parasite prevention plan suitable for your pet

– If parasite treatment has not been discussed and a vaccination appointment has not taken place recently you may be requested to bring your pet for an appointment

– If your pet’s vaccination is due soon then you may be offered your pet’s vaccination at this appointment to save a repeat visit

Please be understanding if you are asked to bring your pet in for an appointment, as this will be in order to comply with the code of conduct set by the RCVS.

For farm animals, as usual, a prescription check via an in person visit is required. A physical examination may be required for prescribing antibiotics if not already covered by the herd health plan.

For more information please visit the RCVS website.