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To practise as a veterinary nurse and undertake any medical treatment or minor surgery on an animal, you may register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and be entered into the list of veterinary nurses or list of visiting European veterinary nurses.

If you were a listed veterinary nurse before 1 January 2003, you will automatically be registered. Otherwise you can apply to the RCVS for registration.

You must pay a registration fee.


Registered veterinary nurses are required to complete at least 45 hours of continual professional development each year. You must also comply with the requirements of the Guide to Professional Conduct for Veterinary Nurses.

Once you are entered on to one of these lists, you may carry out medical treatment or minor surgery - excluding entry into a body cavity - only if all of the following conditions are met:

  • the animal must be under the care of a registered veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner
  • the surgeon or practitioner must be your employer - or acting as your employer
  • the surgeon or practitioner directing the treatment must be satisfied that you are qualified to carry out the treatment or surgery