CVMA-ACMV

Establishing a Valid Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship

By December 1, 2018, Health Canada will require that all antimicrobials used in animals will be under the oversight of a registered veterinarian and will require a prescription. Read more

A prescription is a direction issued by a registered veterinarian that an animal or group of animals be treated with a specified drug at a specified dose for a specified period of time for treatment of a specified condition. In order to issue a prescription, a veterinarian must document that a valid veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) exists.

We All have a Role to Play

Veterinarians, producers and pet owners will have a role to play in responsible antimicrobial use. This includes a better understanding of the reason why these federal regulation changes are taking place, so we can maintain high quality care for animals. Read more.

What Does Establishing a Valid VCPR Mean?

Once new regulations are put in place, a producer who may not have a valid VCPR with a veterinarian will no longer be able to visit a veterinary practice or medicine outlet (feed store) to pick up antibiotics for treating the sick animal, as had been done in the past.

Here are a couple some examples of common misconceptions:

  • The belief that previous attendance at a veterinary practice for any service or product will establish a VCPR.
  • A veterinarian is not in the practice, so a staff member may call the veterinarian to “OK” the sale of the drug. Absent a relationship and understanding of the production unit, the animals and the disease, the veterinarian does not have a relationship with this producer and as such is not able to prescribe the drug and so the drug may not be dispensed.

Review the Case Studies section to find out how a valid VCPR is established. 


Producers will need to develop a relationship with their veterinarian in which:

  1. The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making clinical assessments and recommendations regarding the health of the animal(s) and the need for medical treatment.
  2. The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) on which to base the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of the medical condition of the animal(s). This means that the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal(s) by virtue of an examination of the animal(s) or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal(s) are kept.
  3. The client has agreed to follow the veterinarian’s recommendations and prescription.
  4. The veterinarian is available or has arranged for follow-up evaluation, especially in the event of adverse reactions or failure of the treatment regimen.

The ‘increased veterinary oversight’ of the use of antimicrobials will require that producers work closely with a veterinarian. Establishment of a Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship (VCPR) is required before antimicrobials or any prescription product may be prescribed for animals. Producers who do not regularly work with a veterinarian are encouraged to seek out the services of a veterinarian who can meet their needs.