Overview / Significance
- This Act contains the legislation regarding the professional treatment of animals.
- With certain exceptions, the Act means that only veterinary surgeons who are registered
members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons or are included on the Supplementary
Veterinary Register may practice veterinary surgery on animals (including mammals, birds
- "Veterinary surgery" is defined in the Act as meaning "the art and
science of veterinary surgery and medicine and, without prejudice to the generality of the
foregoing, shall be taken to include:
- the diagnosis of diseases in, and injuries to, animals, including tests performed on
animals for diagnostic purposes;
- the giving of advice based upon such diagnosis;
- the medical and surgical treatment of animals; and
- the performance of surgical operations on animals."
- Exemptions found in the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (Schedule 3 Amendment) Order 1988
- first aid measures to be taken in an emergency to save life or relieve pain.
- minor medical treatment to be given to an animal by its owner or an employee of the
owner, or by a member of the owner's household; persons giving treatment under this
exemption must be at least 18 years old (or 17 if participating in animal husbandry
training as defined by the Act).
- Treatment of amphibians, fish and invertebrates is not covered by this Act; however
treatment of these species must comply with the Protection of Animals Acts 1911-1988.
(J35.147.w1, B156.21.w21, P19.2.w1)
UK Wildlife: First Aid and Care Implications
- The Act prohibits the treatment of animals other than by a veterinarian registered with
the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, except for certain exemptions.
- First aid measures may be taken by any person in an emergency to save life or relieve
- It is important for ownership to be transferred from the person who has found and taken
into captivity an injured or sick wild animal to a rehabilitation centre in order
that personnel of that centre may provide treatment as allowed under the Act.
(J35.147.w1, B142.4.w4, B223,