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For Equine Vets Everywhere

The Cascade In Equine Practice

The prescribing cascade is an essential part of equine practice in the UK. It applies some basic principles that allow veterinary surgeons to treat animals using drugs not licenced for that condition in that species. The cascade is complicated by the classification of horses as food producing animals and further information on food producing animals can be found here. 

Further information can be found on the Health and Medicines pages and via the VMD guidance notes

When using the cascade there is an expectation that key information relevant to the species being treated is included, providing the information that would be included in the package insert were it licensed for use in that species. Such documents will also form the basis of informed client consent, a requirement of the RCVS code of professional conduct.


The documents provided below are designed to facilitate compliance with these requirements and have been proven to be helpful when considering the Practice Standard Scheme. 

  1. They can be dowloaded and provided to clients when such medicines are used. 
  2. You might pre-label such medicines in your pharmacy so that clients can access this information using shortened weblinks or QR codes
  3. You might add the shortened weblinks to your practice management system so that they always appear on printed label

If there is no label for a medicine you are using feel free to contact the BEVA office and it will be added to future documentation. Generic information leaflets are available at the end where no specific example is included. 

Obtaining consent




This list represents the most recent 'batch’ of leaflets. BEVA will continue to develop these either based on the experience of council members or on request to info@beva.org.uk

Copyright and reuse: All documents are provided under the creative commons non-commercial share alike licence, meaning that you can amend them, for example applying your own branding, but that attribution to BEVA must be retained. 

Disclaimer: Presence of a client information leaflet does not mean that BEVA endorse or recommend the use of a particular medicine and veterinary surgeons should ensure that they understand how the cascade applies to the horse and should ensure that use and dosing are appropriate to each clinical scenario.

Detection times: Please note that detection times for commonly used equine medicines can be found on the Sports Horse Committee pages. However, formulation of medicines not licenced for use in horses may differ.

Last updated January 2018

Useful links

BEVA have extensive guidance to the use of the cascade as it applies to the horse

Some medicines used under the cascade are hard to source and may involve the importation from another country or the use of extemporaneously prepared medicines (specials). A database of suppliers provided by members is included here (only accessible to members)