Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Equine Vets and Controlled Substances

MHC Executive Committee Member (soon to be MHC VP) and equine vet Dr. Peter Radue recently received this letter from The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP).  Under current federal law, it is illegal for any veterinarian to use controlled substances away from his/her licensed premises. This means that technically, vets are prohibited from carrying and using medications for pain management and euthanasia, if necessary, at your farm or stable. Although the law has not previously enforced, DEA has recently warned vets in California and Washington state that they are in violation. If you believe that equine and other mobile vets should be able to carry controlled substances in their trucks please contact your congressman using the link below.  If vets are unable to carry controlled substances they will be unable to address emergency situations requiring pain relief or euthanasia.

Dear Dr. Radue:
The AAEP Welfare and Public Policy Advisory Council is working with the AVMA and Congress to ensure that veterinarians can provide complete care to their animal patients.  With the recent introduction of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act of 2013 (H.R. 1528) we have the opportunity to make an impact.
As large animal veterinarians, most of us have frequent need to use controlled substances to treat our patients at the stables, ranches, farms and other sites where they live.  However, the provisions of the existing Controlled Substances Act
  (CSA) make it illegal for any veterinarian to transport and/or use controlled substances outside of the DEA license location that is registered for that individual. This means that it is currently illegal for veterinarians to carry and use these vital medications for pain management, anesthesia or euthanasia on farms, at house calls, in veterinary mobile clinics, or in ambulatory response situations.
Veterinarians must be able to legally carry and use controlled substances for the health and welfare of the nation’s animals, to safeguard public safety and to protect the nation’s food supply.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which enforces the law, has informed organized veterinary medicine that without a statutory change, many veterinarians are in violation of the CSA and cannot legally administer controlled substances away from their registry site. The DEA has already notified some veterinarians in California and Washington State that they are in violation of this law.
We encourage you to contact your members of Congress and urge them to support the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act of 2013 (H.R. 1528). This act would amend the CSA that currently prohibits veterinarians from transporting controlled substances to treat their animal patients outside of their registered locations.
Please join us in telling Congress that veterinarians need to be able to transport controlled substances to the locations of their animal patients, not only for the health and welfare of the nation’s animals, but for public safety.
The link below takes you to the AVMA Legislative Action Center where you can easily express your support of H.R. 1528.  Contact information for your representative(s) is generated  automatically by your zip code and a message which you may edit is provided.
Take Action!
 Thank you for your advocacy.
Ann E, Dwyer, DVM
2013 AAEP President


  1. Telling a veterinarian that he/she can't carry controlled medications on their vehicles for use at clients' farms is preposterous! If an animal is in need of emergency euthanization, often times it is not able to stand. How is a farm owner going to get that horse, cow, etc. to the vet's to put it to sleep and out of its misery? Please stop this crazy idea from happening!

  2. Great information! This is worth sharing for most animal lovers.