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State Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians

The veterinarians must comply with a wide range of rules and regulations. Each state has its own statute and regulation governing the practice of veterinary medicine.  Although licensing requirement and penalties for violation of the provisions of the Act differ from state to state, a majority of the states permit a licensed veterinarian in another state to practice in their state.

Each state has requirements as to who can be licensed as a veterinarian.  However, there are common factors found in all state statutes.   For example, the states do not issue a license to persons who have been convicted of a felony.  Almost all states have specific educational requirements and license is issued to a graduate of a board approved school of veterinary medicine.  Moreover, the applicants in all states have to pay licensing fees along with the application form.

The states have established board of veterinary medicine to govern regulations and licensing of veterinarians.

The veterinarians must comply with each state’s rules or face disciplinary action by the state.  The states are empowered to limit, suspend, revoke, or reprimand veterinarians for violations of any applicable rules.  Generally, disciplinary action is taken against persons for using false or misleading advertising, being convicted of a felony, treating animals in a cruel or inhumane manner, dishonest conduct, fraudulently maintaining a license, or employing anyone in the unlawful practice of veterinary medicine.  The process in which these disciplinary actions are undertaken may also differ from state to state.  For example, Wyoming law states that the board of veterinary medicine of the state will conduct an investigation into any sworn complaint, provided by any person, regarding a veterinarian’s misconduct.  Once the investigation is complete, they may revoke, suspend, or reprimand a veterinarian, if they find that misconduct had occurred.

Many states have statutory provisions for animals that are left in the veterinarian’s care and later abandoned by the owner.  State laws require that abandoned animals must be turned over to a local animal shelter or other state-approved care facility by a veterinarian.  Some states, like Kansas, require that before the veterinarian turns over an abandoned animal, that s/he give notice to the owner of the intent to do so.  Any owner who abandons an animal often loses any and all legal claims to the possession of the animal.


Inside State Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians