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Examination and Licensure of Veterinarians

Generally, a license is required to practice as a veterinarian.  Rules regarding the issuance of a license vary from state to state.  In some states a license will be issued on passing an examination conducted for the same, or if a person possesses the  educational requirements laid out in the relevant state statutes.

The Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners of a State has the right to determine whether the school from which an applicant received his/her diploma was in good standing at the time of its issuance[i].

Regulations relating to the educational qualifications necessary to obtain a license to practice veterinary medicine are different from state to state.  They have been upheld by the courts in most states.  Generally, it is required that a diploma of an applicant for a license must have been granted by a recognized college and it should satisfy certain standards required by the examining board or by any other authorized body.  It has been considered a lawful requirement in most states.

Certain state statutes provide for issuance of a license to any person who is a graduate from a recognized college or veterinary department of any university or agricultural college approved by the U.S. Bureau of Animal Industry and who is a resident elector of the state at the time of passage of a statute[ii].  However, it has been held by courts that regulations providing for two sets of licensing on the basis of possession of a certain educational qualification for practicing as a veterinarian are invalid.  It was held so in a situation where the statute required only passing an examination conducted for a license[iii].

A state veterinary board may not be authorized to impose an accreditation requirement where the statutory requirements for a person to practice veterinary medicine were laid out differently.  Where the requirements for a license were satisfactory proof that s/he is of good character and standing to file an application in statutory form along with prescribed fees and present him/her before the board for examination upon the various branches of veterinary science and practice, no additional requirement is to be satisfied.

Examination and licensing has been prescribed for the practice of veterinarian for the public interest. Legislation and regulations with regard to the practice of veterinarians has been upheld by courts.  Licensing of a person in one state does not necessarily waive another state’s licensing requirement.

A state has the power to waive the requirements for a license in an instance where a person possesses sufficient experience in the practice as a veterinarian.  A person who has sufficient knowledge, skill, and competence may be permitted to continue his/her practice by giving exemption from the requirement of attending an examination for license.

A state has also the power to make statutes for revocation of a license of a veterinarian.  It has to be done reasonably and is subject to judicial review.  The revocation of a license may be made when s/he is convicted of moral turpitude, or in the case of malpractice or on commission of any other unlawful activities relating to practice[iv].

Different courts have taken different views with regard to  an action against unlawful practice.  It has been held that an action cannot be maintained by a veterinary association and that individual licensed veterinarians may not bring an action to enjoin the illegal practice of veterinary medicine[v].  A state veterinary board may commence an action against a veterinarian who practices without a license.

[i] Cooper v. State Bd. of Veterinary Medical Examiners, 114 N.J.L. 10 (Sup. Ct. 1934).

[ii] Meads v. Human, 84 Okla. 82 (Okla. 1921).

[iii] Kramer v. State Bd. of Veterinary Medical Examiners, 55 So. 2d 93 (La.App. 1 Cir. 1951).

[iv] Bell v. Bd. of Regents, 295 N.Y. 101 (N.Y. 1946).

[v] New Hampshire Bd. of Registration in Optomery v. Scott Jewelry Co., 90 N.H. 368 (N.H. 1939).


Inside Examination and Licensure of Veterinarians