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Guide to Starting a Veterinary in Singapore

Guide to Starting a Veterinary in Singapore

There is a growing global trend to raise a pet. In Singapore, more people now own dog and cat, the number of dog and cat have grown nearly 19% in five years to reach around 196,000 in year 2019. As the number of pets grow, pet-related services have also seen a jump in demand. In view of this, one may grab the business opportunity by setting up a veterinary centre in Singapore.

In Singapore, pet-related services are divided into the following two categories whereby each of it should be operate independently within the scope of its licence:

  1. Pet Shop licence ?permitted only to display, sell, distribute, or export pets and pet feed/product, and provide pet-related services such as pet cremation, pet grooming, pet boarding etc (for more information about setting up a pet shop, please refer to “Guide to Starting a Pet Shop in Singapore?.
  2. Veterinary centre licence ?permitted only to provide veterinary examination, diagnostic, medical and/or surgical services.

In order to start a veterinary centre in Singapore, you must register a business with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore (“ACRA?. After that, you would need to obtain a veterinary centre licence from Animal & Veterinary Service (“AVS? to operate and maintain your premise as a veterinary clinic or hospital. All veterinarians under your employment should also be licensed by AVS.

  1. Veterinary Centre Licence

    Under Section 54 of the Animals and Birds Act, and the Animal and Birds (Veterinary Centres) Rules 2002, any person who tends to operate and maintain a premise as a veterinary clinic or hospital must obtain a Veterinary Centre Licence from the Director-General, Animal Health and Welfare (“Director-General?. A licensee is responsible to:-

    (1) adhere to the veterinary centre licensing conditions;
    (2) keep informed of and to observe all relevant statutory requirements; and
    (3) ensure that the veterinary surgeons under employment are licensed by AVS and comply with the conditions of licensing or any directives that may be issued by the Director-General from time to time.

    Besides, the veterinary centre must be under the control and management of a veterinary surgeon at all times, and is subject to inspection by AVS.

  2. Conditions of Veterinary Centre Licence

    There are some general conditions subjected to licensing a veterinary clinic or hospital:-


    It is the responsibility of the licensee to ensure that:

    • all the veterinary surgeons under his employment are licensed by Director-General and comply with conditions of licensing of veterinary surgeons, and any directives that the Director-General may issue from time to time;
    • all veterinary centres must appoint a veterinary surgeons as a veterinary manager who controls and manages the centre. The licensee shall inform the Director-General in writing within 7 days, if there is any change in the appointment of the veterinary manager;
    • the licensee shall permit inspection of the centre by authorised officers of AVS, as and when required;
    • all necessary clearances have been obtained from relevant authorities such as the Urban Redevelopment Authority (“URA?, Housing Development Board (“HDB?, Jurong Town Corporation (“JTC?, Fire Safety and Shelter Bureau (“FSSB? and Land Transport Authority (“LTA?;
    • the activities of the centre must not pose a nuisance or an inconvenience to the neighbourhood or to the public;
    • must ensure the proper storage, use, disposal and audit of all controlled medication, prescription drugs and vaccines. The prescription and dispensation of medication and drugs shall be in accordance with the Medicines and Poisons Act;
    • if the centre is going to cease operations, the licensee shall inform the Director-General in writing at least 30 days before cessation of operations; and
    • all veterinary activities carried out by the veterinary centre are in accordance with the Code of Ethics at all times.


    • The key and primary activities of the centre shall be the provision of veterinary examination, diagnostic, medical and/or surgical services. The centre shall be a distinct entity and shall not be an adjunct to a commercial enterprise such as boarding kennels, pet shops and grooming parlour. For more information about setting up pet shop to provide other related services, please refer to ?U>Guide to Starting a Pet Shop in Singapore?
    • Where the centre shares the same location as a commercial enterprise, the premises of the centre shall be physically separate from that of the commercial enterprise;
    • Only related businesses that are ancillary to the veterinary practice shall be conducted on the premises and restricted to the requirements:
      (i) they shall not occupy more than 20% of the floor space of the centre; and
      (ii) their activities shall not interfere with the veterinary services provided by the centre.
    • The centre shall not be used for the boarding, trade and grooming of animals;
    • The centre shall provide separate areas for the following specific uses:
      (i) Waiting area and client reception;
      (ii) Room for consultation and examination;
      (iii) Facilities for animal holding and for the purpose of isolation; and
      (iv) Room for surgery.
    • If the centre performs surgical procedures, the surgery room shall be equipped with an inhalation anaesthetic machine, appropriate non-chemical sterilisation equipment (e.g. radiation, gas, autoclave) and a scavenger system (passive or active);
    • There shall be facilities that can be used to isolate and quarantine any animal, bird, carcass or specimen infected with or suspected to be infected with a notifiable disease. The aforesaid must be properly contained;
    • The facilities for consultation, examination, treatment and animal holding in the centre shall be of sound construction and design so as to prevent the escape of animals; and
    • The centre shall be kept in clean and sanitary condition.


    • Information on charges for standard and routine services and procedures including consultation, vaccination, sterilisation and teeth scaling shall be clearly displayed at the reception or in the waiting area;
    • The centre shall not claim expertise in any veterinary specialty unless it has on current staff a veterinarian with the proper qualification and certification, as recognised by the Animal and Veterinary Service;
    • Proper medical records, including client and patient particulars, case history, examination findings, diagnosis and treatment, shall be kept confidential (unless the information is required by the appropriate authorities) and kept properly for a minimum of 3 years;
    • Controlled substances shall be kept under lock and key, in accordance with the Medicines and Poisons Act. An inventory must be established to record the stock of such controlled substances in store;
    • The centre shall be equipped to handle emergencies, including the provision of drugs and means of administration to manage cardiac and respiratory emergencies as well as emergencies involving shock or allergies, and shall have resuscitation capabilities such as oxygen;
    • The centre shall either provide after-hours patient care or have standing written arrangement with another centre to provide this;
    • Needles, blades, and other sharp objects shall, either be disposed of by a contractor licensed to do so by the National Environment Agency (“NEA?, or disinfected and disposed of properly in puncture resistant containers; and
    • Animal carcasses and waste shall be properly bagged and disposed of.

  3. Veterinarians

    Any persons who wishes to practise veterinary medicine in Singapore should be licensed by AVS under Section 53 of the Animals and Birds Act.
    The veterinary surgeon licence (Licence to Treat Animals and Birds) will be issued to the veterinarians who meet all the requirements below:-

    (1)     Educational Qualification

    Generally, veterinary degrees from veterinary schools fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (“AVMA? or the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (“AVBC? are acceptable qualifications for obtaining a veterinary licence in Singapore. These degrees may be issued by the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and AVMA-accredited veterinary schools in the United States.

    Please note that the veterinarians who have obtained Membership to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) by virtue of EU Directive 2005/36/EC are not recognised by AVS.

    Those who hold veterinary degrees from non-recognised universities may still be eligible for licensing based on the number of passes they obtained in one of the following examinations:

    • The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (“RCVS? Statutory Examination for Membership;
    • North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (“NAVLE? through the Education Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (“ECFVG? Certification; and
    • National Veterinary Examination (“NVE?.

    (2)     Licensing conditions

    The veterinarians must meet the following conditions to obtain the veterinary licence:

    • They must comply fully with the Code of Ethics for Veterinarians, and any such amendments that may come into effect;
    • They are required to work with an existing veterinary centre in Singapore in the first year after obtaining the licence, in order to gain local experience;
    • They must inform AVS of any change in residential or practice address within 21 days of the change; and
    • They must provide AVS with prescribed information of all microchip implantations performed on dogs.

    The veterinarians should fulfill the following additional conditions in order to renew their licenses:

    • They shall fulfill the requirements of the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) scheme as prescribed by AVS; and
    • They shall declare to AVS that they have obtained a minimum of 50 CPE points over two years prior to renewal of the licence.

  4. Application of Licenses

    Both the application for Veterinary Centre License and Veterinary Surgeon License are to be submitted online through the e-licensing website (GoBusiness Licensing Portal) and approximately 21 working days are required to process each application.
    An active CorpPass will be required to facilitate the application of Veterinary Centre License. The license has a one-year validity and should be renewed annually.
    An active SingPass or LicenceOne ID will be required to facilitate application of Veterinary Surgeon License which is valid for a maximum of 2 years.

Kaizen suggests you to consult with professional advisors before the proposals coming into effect. Kaizen Singapore office is able to provide clients with the licenses application and consultancy services for veterinary, please consult our professional consultant.

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