Research Division

Veterinary Surgeons Act and Regulations

If you use animals in research and teaching you must be competent (Code 1.29).

Veterinary services were redefined in the 2011 Vet Services Act. To render a veterinary service you must be a registered veterinarian.


A 'veterinary service' can be performed for the purposes of teaching or research if the service is occurring within a licenced institution


you are assessed as competent by a VET (nominated by the institution) in the preceding 12 months;


you are supervised by, and are performing the procedure in the presence of a registered Vet

Current Definition of Veterinary Service (Act)

  • Diagnosing a physiological or pathological condition including testing or imaging (for diagnosis).
  • Providing advice based on that diagnosis
  • Performing medical or physical treatment
  • Performing surgical procedures
  • Administering an anaesthetic
  • Pregnancy testing, artificial breeding procedures

Examples of prescribed services that non-vets may perform (Regs)

  • Routine farming procedures (tail docking, chicken sexing, debeaking, foot trimming etc)
  • Blood collection (if directed by Vet)
  • Administration of veterinary medicines
  • Advice on livestock management & nutrition
  • AI and U/S (external) pregnancy testing

Examples of permitted activities relevant to Researchers

  • Anaesthetising and sedating fish of the classes Osteichthyes, Chrondrichthyes and Agnatha.
  • Ear tagging/marking/tattooing (ear biopsy in wildlife)
  • Sampling of faeces or milk (including urine from cows, rodents)
  • Pregnancy exam by external ultrasound
  • Introducing semen via the vagina (AI only)

If in doubt about whether a procedure is a veterinary service, contact the University Veterinarian Dr Jane Dunnett 0499 455 188, +61 3 6226 7491, or Competency may need to be assessed by a vet via Vet Surgeons Regulation 5.

If you are a training towards competency in procedures involving animals, please ensure you record your training sessions using the: Training Record for Animal Procedures Form for Researchers (WORD 16.3KB).