Hospital Licensing

The premises where procedures which require a general or spinal anaesthetic (referred to as major surgery in the Act) are performed must be licensed.  Licensed premises are all referred to as hospitals. 

Licences apply to the actual premises (land and buildings) and therefore if an existing hospital is moved to a new location a new licence is required.

The type of major surgery performed at the hospital will determine the requirements and the type of licence granted by the Board:

  • small animal hospital licence
  • large animal hospital licence
  • mixed animal hospital licence
  • wildlife and zoo animal hospital licence


A veterinarian or veterinarians must have a controlling interest for the application to be approved by the Board unless

  • The applicant is a corporation or firm that provides veterinary services but whose principal business is the supply of goods or materials used in connection with agriculture (same premises)
  • The applicant is a charitable organisation within the meaning of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979
  • The applicant is a society as prescribed by the Veterinary Practice Regulation 2013

Apply for a hospital licence

If you wish to open a veterinary hospital or if you are moving a veterinary hospital to a new location you must apply for a hospital licence.

Renew a hospital licence

The licensing period is from 1 July to 30 June and the Board requires that hospital licences are renewed before 30 June each year.

Transfer a hospital licence

If you are selling all or part of a hospital you need to change the details of the licence holders.

Appoint a superintendent

All hospitals must have a superintendent.  If you are applying for a licence or the current superintendent leaves the hospital you must appoint a superintendent.

Change the name of a hospital

If you wish to change the name of your veterinary hospital you must notify the Board.

Change the type of licence for a Hospital

To change the licence type to enable you to perform another type of surgery at the hospital you should either Apply for a Hospital Licence (to add) or contact the Board to note that you no longer require a particular type of licence.

Cancel a hospital licence

If you are closing down a veterinary hospital you must notify the Board.