Under New Hampshire law, provisions relating to regulation of veterinarians are provided under RSA 332-A:1 through RSA 332-B:19.
Board of veterinary medicine
The New Hampshire board of veterinary medicine consists of seven members, out of which five members are to be veterinarians. There should be one public member and one state veterinarian. The members, other than the state veterinarian, are appointed by the governor for a term of five years, and until a successor is appointed. No appointed member can be appointed to two consecutive five-year terms[i].
The board is empowered to determine the qualifications of applicants for a license to practice veterinary medicine. Further, the board is authorized to issue, renew, deny, suspend, revoke licenses and temporary permits or otherwise discipline licensed veterinarians. The board may also establish fees for examination, licenses and renewal of licenses, including late fees, and for transcribing and transferring records. The board also conducts investigations and hearings[ii].
Any person desiring a license to practice veterinary medicine in New Hampshire should be 18 years of age or more, a graduate of an accredited school of veterinary medicine or other veterinary school acceptable to the board, or the holder of an ECFVG certificate and a person of good professional character. The written application must be accompanied by the requisite fee[iii]. However, the following classes of persons are exempted from licensure requirement[iv]:
- An employee of the federal, state, or local government performing official duties.
- A regular student in a veterinary school working under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
- A person advising on livestock management practices.
- A veterinarian regularly licensed in another state consulting with a licensed veterinarian in New Hampshire.
- The owner of an animal or the owner’s regular employee.
- A member of the faculty of a veterinary school performing regular functions, or a person lecturing, or giving instructions or demonstrations at a veterinary school or in connection with a continuing education course or seminar.
- Any person selling or applying any pesticide, insecticide, or herbicide.
- Any person engaging in bona fide scientific research which reasonably requires experimentation involving animals.
- A person from doing veterinary or surgical work or giving advice to the person’s neighbors; provided that the person does not make a regular practice thereof or receive pecuniary consideration.
- An animal owner or his/her designated agent performing treatment as prescribed by a veterinarian with a valid veterinarian-patient relationship.
The board will conduct at least one examination during each year and give public notice of the time and place for each examination at least 90 days in advance. A person desiring to take an examination shall make application at least 30 days before the date of the examination. Examinations are designed to test the examinee’s proficiency in the subjects and techniques commonly taught in veterinary schools and familiarity with the law and rules governing veterinary medicine in New Hampshire. All examinees are tested by a written examination, supplemented by oral interviews and practical demonstrations. The board may use a national examination as adopted in rules of the board. For purposes of licensure, except by reciprocity, an individual’s results from a national examination will be valid for five years from the date of the examination. The board issues licenses to the persons passing the examination and any person who fails may be admitted to any subsequent examination on payment of the application fee[v].
Any person holding a valid license in New Hampshire on August 24, 1971 is recognized as a licensed veterinarian and can retain the status so long as the person complies with the provisions including annual renewal of the license[vi].
The board may issue a license without examination to a person who:
- Is a graduate of an accredited school of veterinary medicine and holds a current license in good standing in another state, U.S. territory, or Canada; or is a graduate of an unapproved veterinary school outside the U.S. and Canada and possesses a certificate of board certification in a clinical specialty from an organization approved by the American Board of Veterinary Specialists and holds a current license in good standing in another state, U.S. territory, or Canada;
- Has passed a national board examination adopted by rules of the board;
- Has actively practiced clinical veterinary medicine for at least 1,000 hours during each of 3 of the previous 5 calendar years with a minimum of 3,000 practice hours; and provides evidence of good professional character, completed application, and payment of fees.
Applicants who are not graduates of schools accredited by the AVMA, other than those described above, must possess a certificate issued by the ECFVG or a Certificate of Qualification issued by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, unless at the time such applicant became licensed in the state, province, or U.S. territory from which they are applying, an ECFVG certificate was not required by New Hampshire. In addition, the board may require that prior to licensure, the applicant must show completion of an examination covering state law and rules concerning veterinary medicine and state or national veterinary codes of ethics[vii].
The board may waive the examination requirement and issue a temporary permit to any graduate of a veterinary college recognized for a period not to exceed one year. The temporary permit holder has to write the next available set of examinations and also the person must be employed by and practice the profession under the supervision of a duly licensed veterinarian practicing in New Hampshire. A temporary permit may be summarily revoked by a majority vote of the board[viii].
Licenses are to be renewed annually and persons who have allowed their license to lapse for more than five years shall apply for reinstatement of licensure in accordance with RSA 332-B:17[ix]. As a condition of renewal, each licensee is required to show proof that he/she has attended an approved educational program or programs totaling at least 12 hours per calendar year preceding each renewal date[x].
Persons whose licenses have lapsed for five or more years due to nonrenewal must not again be licensed without filing an application for reinstatement. The application should contain such information for determining whether the applicant retains the level of professional qualifications expected of existing practitioners. However, persons who have not practiced veterinary medicine for at least 1,000 hours per year in a jurisdiction with similar license requirements for three or more years since they were last licensed in New Hampshire will meet all requirements for initial licensure[xi].
The board may undertake disciplinary proceeding for professional misconduct including:
- Fraud or deceit in procuring or attempting to procure a license;
- Conviction of a felony or any offense involving moral turpitude;
- Any unprofessional dishonorable conduct;
- Unfitness or incompetency to practice the profession as evidenced by negligent or willful acts performed in a manner inconsistent with the health or safety of animals under the care of the licensee, the intentional injury of an animal or human in a context related to the profession, or a pattern of conduct inconsistent with the basic skills and knowledge required to practice the profession;
- Drug or alcohol abuse;
- Mental or physical incompetency to practice veterinary medicine;
- Willful or repeated violation of the professional regulations;
- Suspension or revocation of a license in another jurisdiction and not reinstated;
- False, misleading or fraudulent advertising or solicitation;
- Having professional association with or employing any person practicing veterinary medicine unlawfully;
- Fraud or dishonesty in the application or reporting of any test disease in animals;
- Failure to keep the veterinary premises and equipment in a safe, clean, and sanitary condition;
- Failure to report as required by law, or making false report of any contagious or infectious disease;
- Dishonesty or gross negligence in the inspection of foodstuffs, maintenance of medical records, or the issuance of health, vaccination, or inspection certificates.
The disciplinary action may be in the form of reprimand, suspension, limitation, revocation, or restriction of license. In addition, the board may require the person to participate in a program of continuing education in the area or areas in which the person has been found deficient. The board may also impose civil penalties of up to $2,000 per violation, or in the case of continuing violations, not more than $200 per day, whichever is greater. The board may informally dispose of any complaint by stipulation, agreed settlement, consent order or default[xii].
The board may conduct hearings and provide reasons for its decisions. Final disciplinary actions taken by the board may be appealed to the Supreme Court, and are not subject to stay pending appeal[xiii]. Practicing without a license is a misdemeanor and each act of such unlawful practice shall constitute a distinct and separate offense[xiv].
[i] RSA 332-B:3.
[ii] RSA 332-B:7.
[iii] RSA 332-B:9.
[iv] RSA 332-B:2.
[v] RSA 332-B:10.
[vi] RSA 332-B:8.
[vii] RSA 332-B:11.
[viii] RSA 332-B:12.
[ix] RSA 332-B:13.
[xi] RSA 332-B:17.
[xii] RSA 332-B:14.
[xiii] RSA 332-B:16.
[xiv] RSA 332-B:19.