< > LCofC1 - RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2000 (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons)

General Information

Formal Publisher/Organisation Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
Contact Details Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
62-64 Horseferry Road
London, UK
Wildpro "Organisations & Website" Reference W10 - Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
Date most recently updated January 2000
Text Availability (e.g. HMSO / Copyright / Public Domain etc.) Available directly from the RCVS in printed format, on CDROM and through the Internet.
Brief Overview / Significance

The RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct identifies the key responsibilities of veterinary surgeons to their patients, clients, the public and professional colleagues, as well as their responsibilities under the law. It is not a detailed rulebook, but rather it sets out fundamental principles which may be applied to all areas of veterinary practice. It is divided into three sections:

  • Responsibilities of a veterinary surgeon
  • The guidance
  • Annexes
NOTES - Amendments / Relation to other legislation --

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Specific Section References

Specific Section References
Wildpro Reference Chapter/Paragraph Title Content
LCofC1.2F Part 2 Section F: Treatment of Animals by Non-Veterinary Surgeons "The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (Section 19) provides, subject to a number of exceptions, that only registered members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons may practice veterinary surgery. "Veterinary surgery" is defined within the act as encompassing the "art and science of veterinary surgery and medicine" which includes the diagnosis of diseases and injuries in animals, tests performed on animals for diagnostic purposes, advice based upon a diagnosis and surgical operations which may not necessarily form part of a treatment."
LCofC1.2H Part 2 Section H: The Use of Veterinary Medicinal Products


1.  A veterinary surgeon must be satisfied that the animal would benefit from medication, particularly in the case of antibiotics or hormones.

2. The selected product must be authorised for use in the UK in the target species for the condition being treated and used at the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.

3. If no product authorised for use in the UK exists for a condition in a particular species, in order to avoid unacceptable suffering veterinary surgeons may exercise their clinical judgement by resorting to the ‘Cascade’ whereby they select in this order:

a. a product authorised for the same condition in another species or a different condition in the same species (off label use)

b. a medicine authorised in the UK for human use, or

c. a medicine made up on a one-off basis - a “veterinary special” - by a veterinary surgeon or other authorised person. If in doubt veterinary surgeons should consult the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. 

4. Only medicines which contain pharmaceutically active ingredients contained in products already authorised for use in the UK in food producing animals may be used off licence to treat food producing animals. A decision to use a medicine which is not authorised for the condition in the species being treated where one is available should not be taken lightly or without justification. In such cases clients should be made aware of the intended use of unauthorised medicines and given a clear indication of potential side effects. Their consent should be obtained in writing. In the case of exotic species most of the medicines used are unlikely to be authorised for use in the UK and owners should be made aware of and consent to this from the outset."

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