On payment of an annual subscription fee, any veterinary practice or other authorized
user has unlimited access to both the London and Leeds branches of VPIS. The size
of the fee is determined by the number of veterinary surgeons working in the practice.
The VPIS is staffed by trained information specialists and pharmacists with ready
access to a large variety of information sources. These include veterinary toxicology
textbooks, past case reports from journals, results and findings of animal laboratory
work performed during drug and product testing, human toxicology databases including
some that contain animal data, and also the database of past case records compiled
by the VPIS. Additionally, VPIS has access to a large library of data sheets provided
on a confidential basis by manufacturers throughout the UK. These list the compositions,
packaging details, physicochemical characteristics and, in some cases, toxicological
characteristics of many products, allowing assessment of the toxic hazard by VPIS
staff. A large number of expert contacts are also available to whom referral may
be made. The laboratory services of the Poisons Units are also available to VPIS
subscribers. However, a preliminary telephone enquiry to establish what specimens
to submit, by what means, etc., is essential.