Changes to Veterinary Health Products

FAASTsheet 11 /

What is Changing and When?


New rules have been introduced to facilitate the approval of, and more rapid access to Veterinary Health Products (VHPs) as additional tools for the maintenance and promotion of animal health and welfare.

VHPs are low-risk products used to maintain or promote the health and well-being of animals. These products are not drugs, and therefore they do not have Drug Identification Numbers (DIN). They are NOT used to treat, prevent, or cure specific disease. VHPs contain a wide variety of ingredients, including:

  • Vitamins (e.g. A, B, C D, E)
  • Minerals (e.g. calcium, phosphorous, selenium)
  • Botanical substances (e.g. St. John’s wort, garlic)
  • Homeopathic medicines

A full list of VHP and their permitted uses, labels, and routes is outlined under List C: Veterinary Health Products

Ultimately, companies that plan to manufacture, import, and/or distribute VHPs will have a streamlined process by which to obtain approval, proportional to the risk associated with such products. These companies must comply with the following regulations when pursuing marketing of a VHP:

  • Rules around health claims,
  • Good Manufacturing Practices,
  • Supportive evidence
  • Notification timelines

When? November 13th, 2017

Why Did This Change?

Given increasingly varied threats to human and animal health, including antimicrobial resistance (AMR), Health Canada has committed to facilitating the development and use of alternative products that promote animal health.

Researching, importing, and approving alternative products has the potential to reduce the reliance on and use of antimicrobials to prevent infections, therefore reducing the development and spread of AMR.

These regulations are designed to minimize burden on industry to facilitate improved access.

What Do These Changes Mean for Veterinarians?

This program provides veterinarians with an expanded arsenal of products with which to support animal health. Though not a replacement for antimicrobials used to treat and prevent disease, many of these products act to support normal physiological functions, thereby helping to decrease the risk of disease in general.

How Does This Impact Your Clients?

Likewise, clients are able to access a broader array of products to support and improve general animal health, potentially decreasing health issues that would otherwise require treatment with antimicrobials.

As VHPs are not drugs, the restrictions on by whom and where drugs can be sold do not apply to VHPs.