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From 1st September the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS, regulatory body for the veterinary profession in the UK) is introducing new guidance on prescribing prescription-only medicines.

The full guidance can be found on:


The new guidance requires that a physical examination of the pet has to be performed every time any antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals and antiparasiticides are prescribed. This includes topical preparations such as ear and eye drops, and all prescription flea/worm/tick products.


The guidance is an important step towards ensuring responsible antimicrobial use and reducing the veterinary impact on the wider issues of global antibiotic resistance and decline of insect populations. 


What this means in practice is that your pet will need to come in for an in-person consultation every time

- we need to prescribe medication for an ear infection (as most contain antibiotics)

- we need to prescribe antibiotics for any skin problem, even if it’s a chronic problem

- we/you decide to change from one flea/worm/tick product to another

- we suspect a urinary tract infection (urine analysis/culture may not be sufficient)

- we suspect a gastrointestinal infection 


We also can no longer prescribe prescription deworming products on the basis of a laboratory report alone, we will need to see the pet for a consultation and physical examination first.


For long term prescription medication that is not an antimicrobial/antiparasitic, our usual policy of requiring an examination every 6 months (or every 3 months in some less stable or more serious cases) continues to apply. 



If you have any questions or concerns about the new guidance, RCVS can be contacted on:

020 7202 0789 or

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