Information for veterinarians

Parts of the Agvet Code apply directly to veterinarians – make sure you understand them

If you are a veterinarian, you should familiarise yourself with Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) legislation and the legislation in your state or territory. Especially make sure you understand the sections most relevant to you.

As with any agricultural or veterinary chemical (agvet) product, veterinary medicines you import, manufacture, use, store, sell, supply or use must be registered with the APVMA – unless exempt by the legislation. As a veterinarian, the rules and regulations you must follow are similar to those for other chemical users – with some key differences to be aware of.

Using veterinary chemical products

As a veterinarian, you are responsible for making professional judgments about the best – and most effective – treatment for an animal under your care. Under certain circumstances, the Code permits you to:

  • obtain, import or manufacture veterinary chemicals not currently registered in Australia
  • prepare a different pack size from what is generally supplied
  • make different treatment recommendations from the label instructions.

When treating an animal with a chemical, it is important to understand your responsibilities in maintaining maximum residue limits (MRLs) in food-producing animals. The product label will state the withholding period – if there is one – between treating a food-producing animal and sending it to market.

Importing veterinary chemical products

Veterinary chemical products can only be legally imported into Australia if given an Import Consent from the APVMA. In certain circumstances, the Agvet Code permits veterinarians to apply for an Import Consent prior to a product arriving in Australia by allowing at least 14 days for the application to be processed.

To apply for an Import Consent, you must be a veterinarian registered to practice in your state or territory. You must also be legally permitted to use – or prescribe the use of – the chemical product you are importing, in line with your relevant state or territory legislation and any conditions on your registration as a veterinarian.

There are strict conditions imposed on Import Consents. One of which is the consent only applies to using – or prescribing the use of – the imported chemical product with the individual animal under your professional care. When imported for use with one animal, the chemical product cannot be used with another – even if from the same flock, herd or other group – unless permitted in the conditions of the Import Consent.

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