Guidelines of the Veterinary Practitioners Registration Board of Victoria
  • These guidelines about appropriate standards of veterinary practice and veterinary facilities issued under section 62(1)(e) of the Veterinary Practice Act 1997 (VPA) apply from 1 May 2021.
  • If the Board receives a complaint which it decides to investigate, under section 47(c) of the VPA the Board can refer to any guidelines issued under section 62(1)(e) of the VPA during any informal or formal hearing it holds, to help the Board decide if a veterinary practitioner has either
    1. whether by act or omission, engaged in unprofessional conduct, or
    2. has not engaged in unprofessional conduct.
  • It is important to note that the Board may refer to different versions of its guidelines, depending on when any event the Board is investigating occurred:
    1. If a matter involves events occurring on or after 1 May 2021, the Board would refer to the guidelines in effect from 1 May 2021.
    2. If a matter involves events which occurred between November 2015 and 30 April 2021, the Board would refer to its previous guidelines, which were in effect from November 2015 to 30 April 2021. View the previous guidelines here.

Background and purpose of guidelines
Expected behaviours and principles of professional conduct
Definitions and acronyms

The Guidelines
These guidelines outline the appropriate standards expected of a registered veterinary practitioner exercising reasonable skill and care in the course of veterinary practice:
  1. The veterinary practitioner-owner-animal relationship
  2. Animal wellbeing
  3. Treatment obligations
  4. Communication between veterinary practitioner and owner or professional peers
  5. Reunification of pets and owners
  6. Veterinary facilities, equipment and assistance in the provision of veterinary services
  7. Veterinary medical records
  8. Veterinary practitioner and veterinary team wellbeing
  9. Practising within areas of technical competence
  10. Continuing professional development
  11. Managing conflicts of interest
  12. Referrals between veterinary practitioners
  13. Telemedicine in the provision of veterinary services
  14. Supply and use of veterinary medications
  15. Responsible supply and use of antibiotics
  16. Provision of veterinary services outside normal business hours
  17. Emergency veterinary services and specialist veterinary services
  18. End of life veterinary services
  19. Veterinary certificates
  20. Biosecurity
  21. Reporting obligations
  22. Incitement to commit unprofessional conduct
  23. Practising in accordance with statutory obligations

Printable version of guidelines
Date of publication

In effect from 1 May 2021


Guideline 14 revised August 2022
Guideline 17 revised December 2023

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), and 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 it available to such person or entity.