Kentucky Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians


Kentucky laws on regulation and licensing can be found in Chapter 321, Title XXVI of Kentucky code.

Licensing of Veterinarians

Pursuant to KRS § 321.190, a valid certificate of license is required to practice veterinary medicine in Kentucky.  Pursuant to KRS § 321.193, the board issues a license as a veterinarian to an applicant who meets the following requirements:

a) Has paid the application fee and the appropriate examination fee;
b) Is a person of good moral character;
c) Has received a degree from a veterinary college approved by the board; and
d) Has achieved a passing score, as set by the board, on examinations required by administrative regulation promulgated by the board.

Pursuant to KRS § 321.195, a veterinarian who wishes to retire his or her license must complete an affidavit indicating permanent retirement of the license to practice veterinary medicine.  Retirement must not be permitted if the veterinarian is still engaged in veterinary medicine in any other state. If reactivation of licensure is desired, a veterinarian must submit proof of the completion of the continuing education requirements within the last 12 months and remit appropriate renewal fees.

Pursuant to KRS § 321.200,   the following persons are exempted from licensing requirements:

a) Any persons from gratuitously treating animals in cases of emergency if they do not represent themselves to be veterinarians or use any title or degree pertaining to veterinary practice;
b) The owner of any animal or animals and the owner’s full-time, or part-time, regular employees from caring for and treating, including administering drugs to, any animals belonging to the owner.
c) Any person from castrating food animals and dehorning cattle, as long as any drugs or medications are obtained and used in accordance with applicable federal statutes and regulations governing controlled and legend drugs;
d) Any student enrolled in any approved veterinary school or college from working under the direct supervision of a veterinarian who is duly licensed under the laws of Kentucky and whose compensation is paid solely by the licensed veterinarian;
e) Nonlicensed graduate veterinarians in the United States Armed Services or employees of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture or the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health while engaged in the performance of their official duties, or other lawfully qualified veterinarians residing in other states, from meeting licensed veterinarians of this Commonwealth in consultation;
f) A trainer, sales agent, or herdsman from caring for animals, provided there is a veterinary-client-patient relationship;
g) A university faculty member from teaching veterinary science or related courses, or a faculty member or staff member from engaging in veterinary research, including drug and drug testing research, provided that research is conducted in accordance with applicable federal statutes and regulations governing controlled and legend drugs;
h) Any person who holds a postgraduate degree in reproductive physiology or a related field, and who has performed embryo transfers in Kentucky during the 5 years immediately preceding July 14, 1992, from performing embryo transfers; or
i) Volunteer health practitioners providing services under KRS 39A.350 to 39A.366.

Pursuant to KRS § 321.201, the board issues a special permit to practice veterinary medicine to:

a) A nonlicensed veterinarian who is a qualified applicant to become a licensed veterinarian by examination and who is employed by and under the direct supervision of a Kentucky licensed veterinarian.  The special permit must be issued after the application has been made to take the next examination given by the board and the required fees paid.  A letter of recommendation from the supervising licensed veterinarian shall be submitted with the application.  The special permit expires the day after the notice of results of the first examination given after the permit was issued.
b) A veterinarian who is licensed in, and who has practiced for one year immediately preceding application in another state, territory, or district of the United States whose licensing requirements are equal to or higher than those of Kentucky, and who has made application to take the next examination given by the board and paid the required fees. The special permit expires the day after the notice of results of the first examination given after the permit was issued.

Pursuant to KRS § 321.211, a veterinarian must, on or before September 30 of each even-numbered year, pay to the board a renewal fee for the renewal of his license.  All licenses not renewed by September 30 of each even-numbered year expire based on the failure of the individual to renew in a timely manner.

KRS § 321.211 provides that a 60 day grace period shall be allowed after September 30, as required for renewal, during which time individuals may renew their licenses upon payment of the renewal fee plus a late renewal fee as promulgated by administrative regulation of the board.  All licenses not renewed by November 30 terminates based on the failure of the individual to renew in a timely manner.  Upon termination, the licensee is no longer eligible to practice in the Commonwealth.

After the 60 day grace period, individuals with a terminated license may have their licenses reinstated upon payment of the renewal fee plus a reinstatement fee.  No person who applies for reinstatement after termination of his license is required to submit to any examination as a condition for reinstatement, if reinstatement application is made within five years from the date of termination.

KRS § 321.211 provides that a suspended license is subject to expiration and termination and must be renewed. Renewal must not entitle the licensee to engage in the practice until the suspension has ended, or is otherwise removed by the board and the right to practice is restored by the board.  A revoked license is subject to expiration or termination but may not be renewed.  If it is reinstated, the licensee must pay the reinstatement fee and the renewal fee.

KRS § 321.211 provides that  a person who fails to reinstate his or her license within five years after its termination may not have it renewed, restored, reissued, or reinstated.  A person may apply for and obtain a new license by meeting the current requirements.

Pursuant to KRS § 321.211, the board may require that a person applying for renewal or reinstatement of licensure show evidence of completion of continuing education as prescribed by the board by administrative regulation.

Pursuant to KRS § 321.221, the board may issue a license by endorsement to any applicant who, upon applying to the board and remitting a fee set by the board, demonstrates to the board that he has met the following requirements:

a) The applicant is a graduate of a veterinary college approved by the board;
b) The applicant is of good moral character;
c) The applicant holds a valid license to practice veterinary medicine and has practiced veterinary medicine in another state of the United States, the District of Columbia, or a territory of the United States for at least one  year immediately preceding application, if the requirements for licensure in the issuing state are equal to or higher than the standards required for the issuance of a new license; and
d) The applicant has passed an examination given by the board on the laws and administrative regulations of the Commonwealth of Kentucky governing the practice of veterinary medicine.

KRS § 321.221 provides that the board must not issue a license by endorsement to any applicant who is under investigation in another state, territory, or the District of Columbia for an act which could result in disciplinary action in that jurisdiction until the investigation and disciplinary proceedings have been completed.

Board of Veterinary Examiners

Pursuant to KRS § 321.230, the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners is created.  The board consists of eight members appointed by the Governor, and the Commissioner of Agriculture or his or her designee.  Seven members must be citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and must each have been lawfully engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine in this Commonwealth for at least two years preceding the date of his or her appointment.  One member must be a citizen at large who is not associated with or financially interested in the practice or business regulated.  Any vacancy in the appointed membership of the board must be filled for the unexpired term by appointment by the Governor. Each member of the board receives $100 per day for each day of service actually given in carrying out his or her duties, in addition to his or her necessary traveling, hotel, and contingent expenses incurred in attending the meetings of the board and in the performance of his or her duties.

Pursuant to KRS § 321.235,

1) The board shall administer and enforce the provisions of this chapter and shall have the responsibility of evaluating the qualifications of applicants for licensure and certification.
2) The board may issue subpoenas, examine witnesses, pay appropriate witness fees, administer oaths, and investigate allegations of practices violating the provisions of this chapter.
3) The board may promulgate administrative regulations pursuant to Chapter 13A and this chapter to carry out the provisions of this chapter.
4) The board may conduct hearings and keep records and minutes necessary to carry out the function of this chapter.
5) The board may evaluate the qualifications and authorize the issuance of licenses, registration, or certification to qualified candidates.
6) The board may renew licenses, registrations, and certifications and require continuing education as a condition for renewal.
7) The board may suspend, or revoke licenses or certifications, or impose supervisory or probationary conditions upon licensees or certificate holders, or impose administrative disciplinary fines, issue written reprimands, or any combination thereof.
8) The board may seek injunctive relief in Franklin Circuit Court to stop the unlawful practice of veterinary medicine by unlicensed persons.

Pursuant to KRS § 321.320, all fees and other moneys received by the board must be deposited in the State Treasury to the credit of a revolving fund for the use of the board. The revolving fund must not revert to the general funds of Kentucky. The compensation of members of the board and all of the employees of the board and all expenses incurred by the board must be paid from this revolving fund.

Disciplining of Licensees

Pursuant to KRS § 321.351, the board may refuse to issue a license, or may suspend, revoke, impose probationary or supervisory conditions upon, impose an administrative fine, issue a written reprimand, or any combination thereof regarding any licensee upon proof that the licensee has:

a) Committed any act of dishonesty or corruption.  If the act constitutes a crime, conviction in a criminal proceeding is not a condition precedent to disciplinary action.  Upon conviction of the crime, the judgment and sentence are presumptive evidence at the ensuing disciplinary hearing of the guilt of the licensee or applicant.  Conviction includes all instances in which a plea of no contest on the basis of the conviction;
b) Misrepresented or concealed a material fact in obtaining a license, or in reinstatement thereof;
c) Committed any unfair, false, misleading, or deceptive act or practice;
d) Been incompetent or negligent in the practice of veterinary medicine;
e) Violated any state statute or administrative regulation governing the practice of veterinary medicine or any activities undertaken by a veterinarian;
f) Failed to comply with an order issued by the board or an assurance of voluntary compliance;
g) Violated the code of ethical conduct as set forth by the board by administrative regulation; or
h) Violated any applicable provision of any federal or state law or regulation regarding the dispensing of controlled or legend drugs.

Pursuant to KRS § 321.351, five years from the date of a revocation, any person whose license has been revoked may petition the board for reinstatement.  The board must investigate the petition and may reinstate the license upon a finding that the individual has complied with any terms prescribed by the board and is again able to competently engage in the practice of veterinary medicine.

KRS § 321.351 provides that when in the judgment of the board, an alleged violation is not of a serious nature, and the evidence presented to the board after the investigation and appropriate opportunity for the licensee to respond, provides a clear indication that the alleged violation did in fact occur, the board may issue a written reprimand to the licensee.  A copy of the reprimand must be placed in the permanent file of the licensee.  The licensee must have the right to file a response to the reprimand within 30 days of its receipt and to have the response placed in the permanent licensure file.  The licensee may alternatively, within 30 days of the receipt, file a request for hearing with the board.  Upon receipt of this request the board must set aside the written reprimand and set the matter for hearing.

The board may reconsider, modify, or reverse its probation, suspensions, or other disciplinary action.

Pursuant to KRS § 321.360, the board, before suspending, revoking, imposing probationary or supervisory conditions upon, imposing an administrative fine, or any combination of actions regarding any license, must set the matter for hearing.  After denying an application, or issuing a written reprimand, the board must grant a hearing with KRS Chapter 13B to the denied applicant only upon written request of the applicant made within 30 days of the date of the letter advising of the denial or the reprimand.

Any party aggrieved by a final order of the board may appeal to Franklin Circuit.

Pursuant to KRS § 321.990, any person who violates or aid in the violation of any of the provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction will be fined not less than $10 nor more than $500, or sentenced to jail for not less than ten nor more than 90 days, or both so fined and imprisoned in the discretion of the jury.