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College releases new standards

September 13, 2018

The Council of the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO) has released four new and revised standards setting out veterinary obligations related to drugs.

“Veterinarians have a unique privilege to prescribe and dispense drugs to animal owners in the province. With that privilege comes the responsibility to do so in accordance with the standards or practice of the profession,” said Council President Dr. Steven Jacobs.

The documents, along with accompanying guides which offer suggestions for applying the standards in situations that arise in veterinary practice, cover prescribing, dispensing, extra-label drug use and compounding. The standards outline the expectations to veterinarians and the public.

“Obligations related to the management of drugs are an important area of veterinary medicine which poses inherent risks to animal and public health. Council undertook extensive work, consultation and research in developing these standards over a three-year period,” said CVO Registrar and Chief Executive Officer Jan Robinson.

The standards reflect new federal rules strengthening veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use, and multiple discussions with stakeholders on the realities of day-to-day veterinary practice. The new and revised standards align with Health Canada’s direction that all antimicrobials approved for veterinary use by sold by prescription only.

The standards and guides are available on the College website at

As a self-regulated profession, the College’s governing Council is comprised of 13 elected veterinarians and five public members, appointed by the provincial government.  The role of the College is to govern the practice of veterinary medicine in Ontario.

The College licenses approximately 4,700 veterinarians and accredits over 2,300 facilities in Ontario.