The Cascade System
for Prescribing


The Cascade system is the set of guidelines for how your vet chooses which medication to use.


Every medication has a licence which sounds a bit complicated but it just states in which species and conditions it is designed for use. This doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t work for other things, but the manufacturer may not have done licensing studies for using it in other animals or other conditions and they can’t provide information on these areas.


Your vet may talk about using a medication “off-licence” or “off-label” which means using something that isn’t licensed because there is no licensed product suitable. This can sound a bit alarming, but usually these products are used commonly and have been for many years, often after scientific research is carried out and published.


They may be products that are licensed in the same type of animal but for a different condition.

They may be products that are licensed for the same condition in a different type of animal.

They may be human medications if there is no veterinary product available.

Your vet will explain the product to you and discuss any possible side effects. Don’t worry about asking questions if you don’t understand something. They may then ask you to sign a form to say that you understand that the medication is being used “off-label”.



Disclaimer:  This website has been designed to offer information surrounding the use of antibiotics and infection control for pet owners.  It does not replace advice from your veterinary surgeon.  If you believe your pet is unwell or you have any questions relating to their treatment, please always contact your veterinary surgeon for advice.