Treating animals with chemicals and medicines

A range of controls apply to the use of veterinary chemical products to treat animals.

If you are not a veterinary surgeon, you can only use registered veterinary chemical products, or those approved under permit, on animals. Chemicals must be used according to label or permit instructions.

If you are a veterinary surgeon, you may vary the way the product can be used when:

  • written instructions are given to the person in charge of the animal
  • or

  • a permit has been received from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

Registered chemicals may only be used:

  • in a way that is different from a restraint statement on an approved label to treat a single animal
  • to inject a chemical when the label states it may be injected.

Food-producing (trade-species) animals

There are strict limitations on the variations allowed for use on food-producing animals, particularly cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens (major trade-species). These requirements reduce the potential risks to human health and trade arising from the use of chemicals on food- and fibre-producing animals. The treated animals must be identified by either:

  • tagging with an appropriate National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) device
  • keeping them separate from other animals
  • keeping written records during the treatment and withholding periods.

Records must be kept for at least 2 years.

  • You may only treat a single trade-species animal with compounded or unregistered veterinary chemicals.
  • Chemical products may be used contrary to label instructions on companion and trade-species animals other than cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens.
  • Horses are not considered trade-species animals.

Major trade-species animals (cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens)

If a product is not registered for use on the animal you wish to treat, you may only use it if the label has instructions for use on another major trade-species animal.

Also consider...