Guidelines of the Veterinary Practitioners Registration Board of Victoria
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Guideline 19 - Veterinary certificates

This guideline outlines the appropriate standard expected of a registered veterinary practitioner in the course of veterinary practice. It should be read in conjunction with other related guidelines.

Context to Guideline 19: Veterinary certificates

An owner may request a veterinary practitioner to issue a certificate as documentation of their professional opinion related to an animal’s health and wellbeing.

The obligations for a veterinary practitioner completing a certificate depends on the certificate’s intended purpose. All veterinary certificates should contain sufficient information to identify the veterinary practitioner and identify the animal that is the subject of the certificate; and should present that detail in a format that enables the reader to understand the certificate’s purpose, any limitations on the issuing of the certificate, and the assessment of the veterinary practitioner.

A veterinary practitioner must not accept inducements or themselves incite another veterinary practitioner to complete a certificate that is misleading or inaccurate as to the assessment they make on the health or status or wellbeing of the relevant animal.

A copy of the veterinary certificate should be attached to the medical record of the animal.

A veterinary practitioner should assure arrangements are in place to protect statutory and operational requirements for confidentiality of sensitive information collected or disclosed as part of certification.

A veterinary practitioner may be requested to sign documentation related to non-medical matters as a community recognised profession and authority. Although outside of the scope of these Guidelines, such a certification should adhere to legislative requirements and the standards in these Guidelines.

Professional conduct under this guideline is demonstrated by the following:
19.1 A veterinary practitioner only certifies matters:
  1. within their areas of professional expertise and knowledge
  2. where there is no actual or perceived conflict of interest in them doing so, and
  3. which they have personally ascertained.
19.2 A certificate issued by the veterinary practitioner must contain sufficient, complete and accurate detail to ensure its purpose is clear. A veterinary certificate contains no less than the following information:
  1. identifying information about the veterinary practitioner, including their unique registration number
  2. identifying information about the animal species and/or breed, sex, age, and a unique identifier such as a microchip tag
  3. the purpose of the certificate and the assessment of the veterinary practitioner related to this purpose
  4. any limitations of the assessment due to external factors
  5. the date of the assessment and the period it remains current (where relevant)
  6. the name of the owner at the time of the certification
  7. any information related to the use of specific diagnostics aids or veterinary services related to the purpose of the certificate, e.g., batch number of a vaccine.
19.3 A veterinary practitioner includes additional information on the certificate (where relevant) consistent with its purpose.
19.4 A veterinary practitioner must ensure that the certificate is completed in a format that is legible.

Related guidelines

Date of publication
In effect from 1 May 2021.

This material is current only at the time of publication and may be changed from time to time. The Board reviews and updates the Guidelines on a continuous basis to reflect changes in the science and knowledge base underpinning contemporary veterinary practice. The Board will take reasonable steps to inform the veterinary profession when such updates are released but it remains the responsibility of the individual veterinary practitioner to ensure that their knowledge and application of these Guidelines to their own practice is current.

While the Board has made every effort to ensure that the material in these Guidelines is correct in law, it shall not be liable to any veterinary practitioner or any other person or entity in relation to any claim, action or proceeding whatsoever (whether in contract, negligence or other tort or in proceedings seeking any other form of legal or equitable remedy or relief) for any inadequacy, error or mistake, or for any deficiency in the whole or any part of this document (including any updates incorporated in the document from time to time). A veterinary practitioner or any other person or entity acting upon the contents of this document acknowledges and accepts that this is the basis upon which the Board has produced these Guidelines and made them available to such person or entity.