Using veterinary medicines

Information for veterinarians about using veterinary medicines.

Deciding which product to use

When choosing a veterinary medicine, select the lowest risk option in the following order – where 1 has the lowest risk and 5 the highest:

  1. On-label use of a New Zealand-authorised veterinary product.
  2. Off-label use of a New Zealand-authorised veterinary product.
  3. Off-label use of a New Zealand-authorised (Medsafe) human medicine.
  4. Import an overseas product (vet medicine preferred but human product acceptable). You'll need to apply for special circumstances approval to import the product.
  5. Use of a compounded veterinary medicine.

Check the database for authorised/registered veterinary medicines:

Compounding veterinary medicines

If you are compounding a veterinary medicine, you must follow a documented system.

Use in food-producing animals

Before using a vet medicine in a food-producing animal, check:

Checking conditions on veterinary medicines

Registered veterinary medicines all have conditions placed on their registration to manage risks. To find the conditions for a particular product, check the ACVM product register.

Find out more

Authorising purchase and use of vet medicines

A restricted veterinary medicine (RVM) has restrictions on its sale, purchase, and use.

As a vet, you can authorise purchase and use of RVMs if you have a current practising certificate issued by the Veterinary Council of New Zealand (VCNZ).

Follow our guidelines when you issue veterinary operating instructions for non-veterinarians to use:

  • RVMs (including for velvet antler removal)
  • veterinary medicines that are exempt from registration.

Veterinary operating instructions guidelines [PDF, 231 KB]

If something goes wrong

Let us know if anything goes wrong (an adverse event) when using a registered vet medicine.

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