Kia ora

Welcome to our November pānui. In this edition, we share information about the current phenobarbitone supply shortage and potential alternatives for patients who may react to a change in treatment.

New graduates are about to enter the veterinary workforce so we have included a reminder about mentoring requirements and professional development, in case your practice is hiring a graduate.

There is a new piece of guidance on The Hub about disclaimers and informed consent, which you may find useful; and a note about emergency services collaboration.

Phenobarbitone supply issue

Due to the closure of a New Zealand manufacturer, veterinary access to phenobarbitone has recently been limited, leading to concern for patients that require life-long treatment with the drug.

New Zealand Food Safety (NZFS) is working to address this, including working with some veterinary medicine wholesalers to put approvals in place under the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) and Misuse of Drugs Acts to enable phenobarbitone to be imported.

For animals that may react to a change in therapy, another option veterinarians can consider is transitioning patients on to the anticonvulsant Imepitoin. There are two veterinary medicines currently registered and available in New Zealand containing Imepitoin: Pexion 100mg Tablets for Dogs (ACVM registration number A010986) and Pexion 400mg Tablets for Dogs (ACVM registration number A010987).

NZFS is also working with veterinary medicine registrants on a more permanent solution. You may find it useful to develop a clinic-wide protocol to manage this issue, if you haven’t already.

If you have any questions about phenobarbitone access, please contact NZFS at [email protected] or visit for updates.

New veterinary graduates

With a new group of veterinary graduates about to enter the industry, it is important to prepare your practice to help them meet their professional development needs, if you are hiring. Any new graduate will need support, supervision and mentoring, which is a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement for their first two years of practice.

As part of our CPD programme, we offer NZVET Mentoring Support, which was developed by VCNZ and the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA). It uses the Mentorloop platform to match recent graduates with experienced mentors who share their knowledge, skills, and experiences. Participants can also take part in online learning to get the most out of mentoring.

There are some highly experienced veterinarians offering mentorship so this is a great resource for graduates.

You can read more about Mentorloop, including several stories from veterinarians who have shared their experiences with mentoring, here:–40cd-9118-bc4d76d48494

Informed consent and disclaimers guidance for veterinarians

VCNZ has recently added a piece of guidance to The Hub about informed consent and disclaimers.

The guidance explains what informed consent is and the expectation for veterinarians to obtain a client’s informed consent before proceeding with treatment. It also outlines disclaimers and how they apply to veterinarians in practice or when delegating responsibility.

The Hub brings all of our standards and guidance together in one place, allowing for easy reading and research. It also makes searching for answers to common questions simpler.

You can read the informed consent and disclaimers guidance here:

Emergency services collaboration

VCNZ has been receiving enquiries from clinics about collaborating to provide emergency services. We’re always happy to discuss this and help if we can, so please feel free to contact us by emailing [email protected]

Thank you

We hope you found this newsletter interesting and informative. If you’d like to provide feedback or send us a topic or story for next time, please email [email protected]

Please also contact us if you have any questions or need support.