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THE VETERINARIAN-CLIENT-PATIENT RELATIONSHIP

The veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) is the basis for interaction among veterinarians, their clients and their patients. A VCPR exists when all of the following conditions have been met:

• The veterinarian has assumed responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the animal(s) and the need for medical treatment, and the client has agreed to follow the veterinarian's instructions.

• The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal(s). This means that the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal(s) by virtue of an examination of the animal(s), or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal(s) are kept.

• The veterinarian is readily available, or has arranged for emergency coverage, for follow-up evaluation in the event of adverse reactions or the failure of the treatment regimen.

Dispensing or prescribing a prescription product requires a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR).

Without a valid VCPR, veterinarians' merchandising or use of veterinary prescription drugs or their extra-label use of any pharmaceutical is unethical and is illegal under federal law.

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