WORDS: Joanna Grigg

An expired restricted medicine authorisation is a hassle.

Farmers can’t receive restricted animal medicines over the counter without having it authorised by a vet.

Getting a vet for a prescription appointment, during an urgent animal health problem, can be quite an inconvenience.

To avoid the issue, farmers should review their property’s Restricted Veterinary Medicine (RVM) list each year. Maree Jones, administrator at the Vet Centre Marlborough, says their annual review costs about twice that of a one-off prescription and can cover all medicines and stock classes for the year. It takes about 30 minutes.

On the other hand, a prescription is just for the affected animals at that time.

Any vet undertaking the RVM review must have been on the property within 12 months for sheep, beef or deer farms, or every six months for dairy. They must have a good knowledge of the animal health on that property.

Changes to the rules have been brought on by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. A farm where the disease occurred was getting their RVM products prescribed by a vet who lived on Waiheke Island. The farm was in Southland.

Farmers should use the review as a chance to discuss each treatment that is likely to be needed for all sheep, cattle, deer, dogs and horses.

Quantities need to be specified and it’s a good idea to have enough allocation to conduct large-scale treatments.

Mary Bowron, a vet at the Vet Centre Marlborough, says it is an ideal time to discuss overall animal health management, antibiotic resistance practices and how to use any new products to market.

Products not on a property’s allocation list cannot be supplied unless speaking to a vet first, requiring a prescription fee charge. For this reason, be accurate with your RVM ranges and quantities, she says.