Adverse event:
An adverse event is considered to have occurred if any one (or more) of the following takes place after the administration of a veterinary medicine:
  1. an unexpected reaction;
  2. unreasonable pain or distress;
  3. lack of efficacy;
  4. the production of residues in primary products when the product has been used as recommended.

Advertise: To publicise to the community or to any section of the community using any words, whether written, printed, spoken, or in any electronic form, or of any pictorial representation or design or device used to promote the sale of any agricultural compound; and 'to advertise' has a corresponding meaning (ref: section 2 ACVM Act). Advertising does not include general information transfer about animal health, animal welfare, or food safety status or management.

Attending a veterinary emergency means to physically assess the animal(s) and as a minimum provide relief from unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.

Authorising, dispensing, recommending, selling and using veterinary medicines:
  • Authorising: A veterinarian creating a documented approval allowing a client to purchase a particular restricted veterinary medicine to administer to a particular animal(s) in accordance with the instructions of the veterinarian.

  • Dispensing: Supplying veterinary medicines strictly in accordance with a written veterinary authorisation. Products must be dispensed in their registered packaging unless otherwise specified in the authorisation.

  • Recommending: Advising a client to use a particular veterinary medicine.

  • Selling: Offering for sale a veterinary medicine, including gifting or offering samples.

  • Using: A veterinarian administering a veterinary medicine to an animal(s) in their care. This includes staff administering in accordance with the veterinarians instructions.

  • Veterinary medicine: Any substance, mixture of substances or biological compound used or intended for use in the direct management of an animal.

Certification is the action of providing a written assurance or notification to any person about any animal or animal product. (In this context 'written' includes using electronic means).

A client of a veterinarian is a person (or organisation) that uses or has used the professional services of that veterinarian.

Clinical practice means the professional examination, diagnosis, prophylactic, medical and/or surgical services veterinarians provide.

Clinical record A record documenting a clinical examination or client discussion, which should include the date of examination/discussion, name of animal examined, history, clinical signs, diagnosis/provisional diagnosis, treatments and advice given, and medication or tests undertaken. The date of the medication authorised and any tests undertaken should be included. The record should include the signalment (a description) of the animal(s). It should be completed and maintained in accordance with the professional standards and practices as outlined in this Code.

Competency is the application of knowledge, skills, attitudes, communication and judgement to the delivery of appropriate veterinary services in any particular field of veterinary practice. Competence is demonstrated through performing the tasks required to an acceptable standard and doing this on a consistent basis.

Compounded preparation: A preparation prepared by a veterinarian or by a person on behalf of a veterinarian for use or sale as a veterinary medicine without regulatory assessment or approval.

Compounding: Combining ingredients (some of which may be generic chemicals or biological compounds and others may be trade name products) to prepare a medication to be supplied to a person to treat an animal. To prepare means not only the process of combining ingredients in an appropriate manner for the intended purpose, but also placing the medication into appropriate packaging with appropriate labelling to allow it to be supplied to and used by a person other than the veterinarian who compounded it.

Controlled drug means any substance, preparation, mixture, or article specified or described in Schedule 1, Schedule 2, or Schedule 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. (

General Veterinary Practitioner is the predominant veterinarian who a client chooses to provide the continuing and comprehensive primary veterinary care requirements for an animal or group of animals.

Generic Chemical
A substance that is offered for sale without any veterinary medicine claims being made by the manufacturer, proprietor or seller.

Human medicine refers to any medicine, prescription medicine or pharmacy-only medicine as defined in the Medicines Act 1981.

Ill treatment of an animal means causing an animal to suffer pain or distress which is unreasonable or unnecessary.

Immediate means taking place without delay.

Inducements are gifts or rewards offered to individual veterinarians or their staff which provide a significant personal benefit and therefore have the potential to influence treatment decisions (including the choice of restricted veterinary medicine) or incentivise sales. Examples might include but are not limited to cash, attendance at entertainment or sporting events, travel, hospitality, loans, personal items and consumables.

MPI: Ministry for Primary Industries.

NZVA: New Zealand Veterinary Association.

Off Label Use: Using a registered veterinary medicine (over the counter or restricted) product for a purpose not assessed by MPI ACVM Group.

Any aspect of veterinary endeavour. The practice of veterinary science includes:
  1. signing any certificate e.g. clinical and export certificates;
  2. prescribing;
  3. treating;
  4. reporting or giving advice in a veterinary capacity using the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competence initially attained for the BVSc degree (or equivalent) and built upon through experience and/or post-graduate and continuing professional development. "Practice" goes wider in this context than clinical veterinary science to include regulatory and compliance functions, teaching, consultancy, advice and health and welfare management.

Referral: The act of handing over a matter/clinical case to a person, who has particular skills, or who is a registered specialist in the appropriate discipline.

RVM: Restricted veterinary medicine.

Veterinarian means a person who is registered with the Veterinary Council of New Zealand and who holds a current practising certificate.

Veterinary authorisation: An instruction, in an appropriate documented form, from a veterinarian authorising:
  1. the use of a restricted veterinary medicine by the specified person in accordance with the authorising veterinarian's instructions;
  2. the holding of a relevant restricted veterinary medicine by a person who is neither a recognised trader nor a veterinarian;
  3. the sale from a person recognised to sell restricted veterinary medicines to a person specified in the authorisation.
The terms veterinary authorisation and veterinary prescription have the same meaning and may be used interchangeably.

Veterinary consultation
A veterinary consultation must include the veterinarian:
  1. interviewing the client (or a legitimate and authorised representative of the client);
  2. collecting and recording sufficient information relevant to the individual circumstances to ensure the proposed course of action (including treatment) is appropriate and meets the needs and best interests of the animal(s) and the client;
  3. obtaining appropriate consent to the proposed course of action;
  4. being given and accepting responsibility for the ongoing health and welfare of the animal(s) concerned in relation to the consultation. This includes arranging emergency care taking into consideration the circumstances and the potential for adverse effects from, or failure of the agreed course of action;
  5. determining and providing the appropriate level of advice and training in order to be satisfied that the agreed course of action can occur as planned
Consultation will usually involve the animal(s) having been seen by the veterinarian at the time of the consultation. If not, they will have been seen recently or often enough for the veterinarian to have sufficient personal knowledge of the condition/health status of the animal(s). This consultation is required in order for the veterinarian to be able to propose the particular course of action/treatment.

VCNZ: Veterinary Council of New Zealand

Veterinary emergency: Any sudden, unforeseen injury, illness or complication in an animal demanding immediate or early veterinary treatment to save life or to provide timely relief from unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.

Veterinary Operating Instruction (VOI): A set of instructions from an authorising veterinarian (AV) to a non-veterinarian to hold restricted veterinary medicines (RVM) in anticipation of their use, and to use RVMs only in accordance with the AV's instructions in circumstances in which the AV will not be carrying out a case-specific consultation.