Advice ref cascade consent forms

We are aware that there is some confusion in practice about when owners should be asked to sign consent forms in relation to the use of unlicensed medicines under the Cascade, to alert clients to the legal position and about any likely side-effects.

The requirement is part of the supporting guidance for the Codes of Professional Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons and Veterinary Nurses  and is included in the Practice Standards Scheme.

As many medicines used for ‘small furries’, exotics and pet birds are unlicensed, it is sufficient that owners are made aware of this at the outset of their relationship with the practice, and sign an appropriate consent form to cover future off-licence medicine use, regardless of the product or the condition for which it is being used.

With other animals, where it is more exceptional that an off-licence medicine be used, then a signed consent form is required each time a medicine is used, unless that medicine is for continuous use for the animal’s life or over a prolonged period of time, in which case a single form can be used. Where the same off-licence medicine is used in two or more separate incidents, even if for the same condition, but separated by time, then a new form ought to be signed.

Please contact the PSS team if you have any questions about this, as we recognise that not all cases fall into these discrete categories. 


The Practice Standard (January 2014)