Over the past three years, draft standards outlining the practice expectations of a veterinarian related to
prescribing and dispensing drugs, inclusive of antimicrobials, has been debated and considered by a Prescribing and
Dispensing Working Group, whose establishment was directed by Council due to the College’s limited information
on these important, high-risk activities. Throughout the process these drafts have been informed by new federal
rules strengthening veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use, and multiple discussions with varied stakeholders on
the realities of day-to-day veterinary practice. The aim of the standards is to demonstrate the importance of these
activities to the public and to the profession by recognizing the inherent risks posed by drugs to animal and public
At its March 2018 meeting, Council was pleased to approve a series of draft Professional Practice Standards
inclusive of prescribing, dispensing, extra-label drug use and compounding, which set out current and existing
practice expectations for veterinarians across all species.
With the privilege that veterinarians have to both prescribe and dispense drugs comes a great responsibility to do so
in accordance with the standards of practice of the profession. The importance of the role of veterinarians to both
society and animals in the prescribing and dispensing of pharmaceuticals cannot by overemphasized. As these
are distinct skill sets, which can also be performed separately, distinct standards have been prepared to highlight
the different accountabilities and responsibilities.
These documents align with Health Canada’s direction that all antimicrobials approved for veterinary use be
sold by prescription only.
The perspective of the public and of the profession is key to completing this work.
This consultation is now closed.