Below you will find information on using veterinary medicines.  Special sections are provided for:

  • Veterinarians
  • Research, testing and teaching organisations
  • Anyone using vet meds on their own animals


When deciding what product to use, you should follow the risk management-based product use “cascade”, with #1 as your first choice:

  1. On-label use of a NZ-authorised veterinary product
  2. Off-label use of a NZ-authorised veterinary product
  3. Off-label use of a NZ-authorised (Medsafe) human product
  4. Import of an overseas product (veterinary product preferred but human product acceptable). Special circumstances approval to import is needed - use this form:
    Application to import for special use (275 KB DOC)

  5. Special Circumstances Approval - ACVM Information Requirements (126 KB PDF)

  6. Compounding. Documented system is needed - use this guideline:
    Developing a documented system for compounded vet preparations: guidelines (119 KB PDF)

Search the database for currently registered veterinary medicines

Residues and withholding period information

If you want information on using veterinary medicines in food-producing animals, read the following:

Default withholding periods for veterinary medicines

Prohibited substances

Phenylbutazone use in horses - Advice for veterinarians

Classification of veterinary medicines

Registered veterinary medicines all have conditions placed on their registration to manage risks. (To see these conditions, check the ACVM product register - link above.)

For detailed information read:

Classification of veterinary medicines (75 KB PDF)

Classification of veterinary medicines in regard to sale, purchase and use (81.5 KB PDF)

Authorising purchase and use

A “restricted veterinary medicine” (RVM) is registered with extra restrictions on its sale, purchase and use.¬† If you are a veterinarian with a current practising certificate issued by the Veterinary Council of New Zealand (VCNZ), you are recognised to issue veterinary authorisations for the purchase and use of RVMs.

For more information, read:

Requirements for Authorising Veterinarians Notice (217 KB PDF)

This document provides guidelines for issuing robust veterinary operating instructions (VOIs) for non-veterinarians to use for RVMs (including RVMs for velvet antler removal)or veterinary medicines that are exempt from registration subject to veterinary control.

Veterinary operating instructions guidelines (231 KB PDF)

Adverse events

If you have an adverse event when using a veterinary medicine, please let us know. Go to our “If something goes wrong” page (link at left) for AER form and guideline.