Paramyxovirus – making sure you use only authorised vaccines: Advice from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD)
We understand that many of you at this time of year will have vaccinated, or are about to vaccinate, your pigeons against paramyxovirus, which can significantly harm their health.
To clear up any confusion about the vaccines you should be using, the VMD – the Government agency which regulates veterinary medicines in the UK – has set out what you must do to comply with the law when using medicines, including vaccines, for your pigeons.
Anyone using a medicine on a pigeon and indeed any animal must use a UK authorised medicine*. If you are unsure if the medicine is authorised in the UK you should consult the VMD’s online Product Information Database which has an A-Z listing of all UK authorised veterinary medicines.
Using an unauthorised medicine is an offence against the Veterinary Medicines Regulations. Illegal medicines can be seized and users and suppliers may be prosecuted.
The only time when you may use a medicine that is not authorised in the UK is when a suitable medicine is not authorised or available in the UK to treat the specific condition. On these occasions, your vet – and only your vet – may :
• prescribe another medicine authorised in the UK for another species or condition that may be suitable or
• apply to the VMD to import a suitable medicine
The VMD will accept applications to import medicines including vaccines if there is no suitable medicine available or authorised in the UK to treat the specific condition.
* Some medicines for homing pigeons that contain certain ingredients do not have to be authorised. For details about the legal exemptions for homing pigeons and other small pet animals see here.