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No, you can be a non-practising or overseas-practising member, but you must be on the RCVS Register.


A clinical assessment is any assessment which provides the veterinary surgeon with enough information to diagnose and prescribe safely and effectively. 

A clinical assessment may include a physical examination, however this may not be necessary in every case.


Your practice will be working hard to avoid any unnecessary risk to you, and to their team.

As such, you should be prepared to wait outside the practice, or even in your car, while your animal is examined to ensure safe distances are maintained. The consultation with you may then take place over the telephone.

If you are asked to enter the practice premises, please maintain at least a two-metre distance between yourself and others and ensure you wash your hands before, during and after your visit to the practice. 

You should also wear a face covering at all times, unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse. You can view rules applicable to your region in the UK including exemptions on wearing face coverings.

In line with government guidance limiting contact with others, you should ensure that, wherever possible, only one person attends the appointment with your animal.

Last updated: 14 January 2021


Procedures done in the ordinary course of clinical diagnosis or treatment of an animal/s are generally RVP.

If you are undertaking research, using routine veterinary practices, such as comparing two existing procedures or developing a new procedure, but always with the intention of benefitting the individual animal(s) that are used, then this is considered clinical veterinary research..

If you are undertaking the procedure or technique for scientific or experimental purposes, without benefit for the individual animal(s) used, then you are likely to require a licence from the Home Office under ASPA. See Chapter 25, paragraph 26 for information on exemptions to ASPA.


Your vet will use their professional judgement when deciding whether or not to administer primary and/or routine vaccinations.

They will base their decision on a number of things including the risk to your animal if the vaccination is not given (this will include local factors such as whether a particular disease is widespread in your area) and any unnecessary risks to their team in carrying out the vaccinations.

Please be aware that we do not expect veterinary practices to offer business as usual for the time being.

Please respect your vet’s decision, and remember that decisions may vary between practices, and in different parts of the country, depending on the circumstances and the latest government restrictions/guidelines in place.

Last updated: 14 January 2021


Veterinary medicines are licensed by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) to make sure they are safe and effective for specific animals/species. If a veterinary medicine is currently licensed for use, it is known as an ‘authorised’ medicine. Whether a medicine is currently authorised, and in which jurisdiction it is authorised, can be checked on the VMD’s Products Information Database.

The use of an unauthorised medicine in accordance with the prescribing cascade for the benefit of the animal will be considered as routine veterinary practice.

In the first instance a veterinary surgeon should prescribe a medicine authorised in the jurisdiction where they are practising, for use in the target species, for the condition being treated, and used at the manufacturer's recommended dosage. Where there is no such medicine available, the veterinary surgeon responsible for treating the animal(s) may, in particular to avoid unacceptable suffering, treat the animal(s) in accordance with the Cascade. Details of the Cascade can be found in Chapter 4.

If a veterinary surgeon intends to randomise animals to receive one of a selection of authorised medicines, this is CVR but would also require an ATC.

If a veterinary surgeon intends to use a completely novel or experimental product, even if the intention is to improve the welfare of the animal, further licence may be needed – see FAQ 6 below.


An animal is under a veterinary surgeon’s care when the veterinary surgeon is given, and accepts, responsibility for the health of an animal (or a herd, flock or group of animals) whether generally, or by undertaking a specific procedure or test, or by prescribing a course of treatment.

Responsibility for an animal may be given by the owner, client or keeper, statute or other authority.

A veterinary surgeon who has an animal under their care must be able, on a 24/7 basis, to physically examine the animal, or visit the premises in the case of production animals, equines, farmed aquatic animals and game.

Veterinary surgeons should also be prepared to carry out any necessary investigation in the event that animals taken under their care do not improve, suffer an adverse reaction or deteriorate.

Veterinary surgeons should provide this service within an appropriate timeframe depending on the circumstances, which could be immediately. 

  1. Closing date for submission of nominations                    5pm, Tuesday, 31 January 2023

  2. Posting of voting papers to members (approx.)               Week commencing Monday, 13 March 2023

  3. Closing date for receiving votes                                     5pm, Friday, 21 April 2023

  4. Candidates informed of results                                      Monday, 24 April 2023

  5. New members join Council                                            Friday, 7 July 2023 (RCVS Day)

*With the exception of the closing date for submission of nominations, dates are a guideline.


A detailed recorded conversation should take place with the client about the expected benefits and harms to the animal’s welfare, as well as alternative treatments to the procedure including any unknowns/gaps in knowledge. The option of euthanasia should be discussed where appropriate to the case.

For clinical veterinary research, clients should be informed that they can opt-out at a later stage without any penalty in the care of their animal(s) or themselves.

Note that informed client consent is necessary, but not sufficient to automatically make a procedure routine veterinary practice.

As clinical data is not covered under the GDPR, clinical audit data can be used in epidemiological research without further consent from the client.

(For further information on informed consent, please see Chapter 11 of the supporting guidance to the Code of Professional Conduct, ‘communication and consent’)


Please do not attend your veterinary practice if you are self-isolating.

You should call the practice so that your vet can decide whether they can assist remotely and, if not, whether they should physically see your animal or safely delay treatment.

You should also inform the practice that you and your household are self-isolating.

If your vet wants to physically see your animal, you should make arrangements for another person (not from your household) to take your animal to the practice.

If this is not possible, you should inform the practice so that alternative arrangements can be made if possible.

Last updated: 14 January 2021

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