Prescribing of Controlled Substances Containing Opioids or Buprenorphine


Due to these recent changes in the Virginia State Law, Stahl Exotic Animal Veterinary Services (SEAVS) will have to undergo some changes when prescribing some medications to our patients, effective immediately:

  • An evaluation of a patient is needed when prescribing a controlled substance for pain.

  • Non-opioid medications shall be considered as treatment first when possible.

  • When a controlled substance is prescribed, it must be used at the lowest effective dose for the least amount of time.

  • The supply must not exceed a 7 day supply, an additional 7 days may be prescribed only after a re-evaluation of the patient has been made by the veterinarian to determine its necessity.

  • In some chronic conditions, a controlled substance may be prescribed beyond 14 days.

    1. A plan shall be created including further diagnostics to measure improvement while on this medication.

    2. The patient must be seen at least every six months for re-evaluations if prescription is to be extended.

  • A discussion about risks, responsibilities, and disposal of unused drugs must be completed between a doctor and owner before dispensing any controlled substances.

The most common medications SEAVS dispenses that are affected by this change include, but not be limited to: Tramadol, Buprenorphine (aka, Buprenex), Midazolam, and Diazepam (aka, Valium).



Vets & pet owners can view the interactive PDF to learn more about safe use of opioids: CLICK HERE



Reference: 18VAC150-20-174. Prescribing of controlled substances for pain or chronic conditions.

To review information on the regulatory action including the emergency regulations: CLICK HERE

To review the emergency regulations only: CLICK HERE