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What is the VCPR?

What is the veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR)?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), a valid VCPR includes the following:

1. The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the patient and the client has agreed to follow the veterinarians’ instructions.

2. The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the patient to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the patient. This means that the veterinarian is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the patient by virtue of a timely examination of the patient by the veterinarian, or medically appropriate and timely visits by the veterinarian to the operation where the patient is managed.

3. The veterinarian is readily available for follow-up evaluation or has arranged for the following: veterinary emergency coverage, and continuing care and treatment.

4. The veterinarian provides oversight of treatment, compliance, and outcome.

5. Patient records are maintained.

What all that means is that a VCPR is established when a veterinarian visits a farm or facility, understands the overall flow of animals through the facility, how the owner or manager treats or manages the herd, and takes responsibility for guiding treatment decisions and animal health. These establishment appointments generally involve a tour around the facility and a conversation about current protocols, standard operating procedures, and goals.

The VCPR is maintained by at least annual visits (though we recommend semi-annual visits to stay up to date on herd numbers, goals, and help prevent large-scale disease). The VCPR is also the reason that veterinarians cannot dispense medications without visiting the animal or facility in question on a regular basis. The veterinarian may also suspend a VCPR if dispensed medications are used in a way other than according to label instructions or if patient records are insufficient or absent.

The VCPR also ensures that the owner or manager has a veterinary professional to turn to in emergency situations, as the veterinarian knows the owner/manager, the facility, and the animal(s) in question.

If you have questions or would like to establish a VCPR, give your local veterinarian a call.

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