Clarification on equine wormers under new veterinary prescribing rules

  • Tighter regulations around prescribing veterinary antibiotics and antiparasitics have been welcomed – as clarification is provided on equine wormers.

    In September, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons introduced new “under care guidance”, which affects how vets prescribe prescription-only medications (POM-Vs). When prescribing POM-Vs, a vet must carry out a “clinical assessment”, and under these new rules it is up to the vet whether this assessment includes a physical examination. But in the case of controlled drugs, antibiotics, antifungals, antiparasitics or antivirals, vets must now always perform a physical examination.

    The antiparasitic aspect was delayed to 12 January, and there was some confusion last year as to whether it applied to equine wormers. But the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) told H&H horse wormers are not affected, as their legal classification is outside the remit of the rules.

    Past BEVA president Mark Bowen said the main aim is to regulate remote prescribing.

    In equine practice, most telemedicine is provided to existing clients, but Dr Bowen said “a new model of telemedicine-only vets is emerging”, and the rules are designed to ensure in-person care must be available should a condition not improve, or in the event of a complication of treatment, and that the drugs are not prescribed remotely without physical examination.

    “Vets welcome the concept of tighter regulation of these medicines, which essentially prevents remote prescription. These medicines are critically important to human and animal health and their overuse results in resistance,” he said.

    “Their use needs tighter regulation since many antiparasitic agents have the potential to cause significant environmental harm.”

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