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New rules for the access and use of veterinary drugs

Health Canada is changing regulations and policies regarding the access and use of medically important antimicrobials in animals.

Antimicrobials used in human and animal health are categorized by Health Canada according to their importance in human medicine. There are four categories based on whether an antimicrobial is used as the preferred treatment option for serious human infections and whether there are treatment alternatives available. Categories 1, 2 and 3 are considered medically important antimicrobials (MIA).

As of December 1, 2018, all medically important antimicrobials will have prescription status and only be available from your veterinarian, or pharmacy.

Commonly used medically important antimicrobial active ingredients used to treat pigs are:

  • Apramycin
  • Bacitracin
  • Erythromycin
  • Lincomycin
  • Neomycin
  • Penicillin G
  • Spectinomycin
  • Streptomycin-Dihydrostreptomycin
  • Sulphonamides
  • Tilmicosin
  • Tiamulin
  • Tylosin-Tylvalosin
  • Virginiamycin
  • Tetracycline-Chlortetracycline-Oxy-Tetracycline 

Products containing these ingredients will require a prescription as of December 1, 2018.

Pork producers with a valid prescription will be able to purchase drugs (including drugs that may be mixed into animal feed) at a veterinary clinic or a pharmacy. Prescription medicated feed can be purchased through a veterinarian, a pharmacist or a commercial feed mill with a valid veterinary prescription.

In order to use medically important antimicrobials in the care of animals, veterinarians will need to have a valid Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship with the animal owner to issue a prescription.

A Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship is a medical service relationship between the veterinarian and the farmer for the care of food animals and is regulated by provincial veterinary licensing authorities.

According to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, a legitimate VCPR is considered to exist only if medical records of the veterinary practice contain evidence of relevant and timely interaction between the veterinarian, animal owner, and animal patients. This may include: farm visits, consultations, direct animal examinations (individual or herd), laboratory reports, production record reviews, etc.

The VCPR is not a signed contractual agreement but rather a working connection and interaction between veterinarian, client and specific animal patient or group of animals. More information about the VCPR can be found at:

Source : cpc-ccp