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Georgia Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians

Georgia Veterinary Practice Act governs regulation and licensing of veterinarians in Georgia.

State Board of Veterinary Medicine

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 43-50-20, a State Board of Veterinary Medicine is created consisting of six member appointed by the Governor with the approval of the Secretary of State and confirmation by the Senate.  The memberz are appointed for a term of five years or until his or her successor is appointed.  Five members of the board must be duly licensed veterinarians actually engaged in active practice for at least five years prior to appointment.  The sixth member must be appointed from the public at large.

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 43-50-21, the board has the power to:

1) Examine and determine the qualifications and fitness of applicants for licenses or registrations to practice veterinary medicine and veterinary technology in this state;
2) Issue, renew, refuse to renew, deny, suspend, or revoke licenses or registrations to practice veterinary medicine or veterinary technology in this state or otherwise discipline licensed veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians; and to issue, renew, deny, suspend, or revoke veterinary faculty licenses, consistent with this chapter and the rules and regulations adopted under this chapter;
3) Conduct investigations for the purpose of discovering violations of this chapter or grounds for disciplining persons licensed or registered under this chapter;
4) Hold hearings on all matters properly brought before the board; and, in connection therewith, to administer oaths, receive evidence, make the necessary determinations, and enter orders consistent with the findings. The board may designate one or more of its members to serve as its hearing officer;
5) Appoint from its own membership one member to act as a representative of the board at any meeting within or outside the state where such representative is deemed desirable;
6) Bring proceedings in the courts for the enforcement of this chapter or any regulations made pursuant to this chapter; and
7) Adopt, amend, or repeal all rules necessary for its government and all regulations necessary to carry this chapter into effect, including without limitation the establishment and print or electronic publication of standards of professional conduct for the practice of veterinary medicine and veterinary technology.

Licensing of Veterinarians

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 43-50-30, a license or a valid temporary license issued by the division director is required to practice veterinary medicine in Georgia.

O.C.G.A. § 43-50-31 provides that any person desiring a license to practice veterinary medicine must make written application to the board.  The application must include evidence, satisfactory to the board, that:

1) The applicant has attained the age of 18;
2) The applicant is of good moral character;
3) The applicant is a graduate of an accredited college or school of veterinary medicine or possesses an ECFVG certificate or its substantial equivalent; provided, however, that a senior veterinary student may, in the discretion of the board, be allowed to sit for the examination during his or her senior year if s/he meets the other qualifications but must not be issued a license unless and until s/he graduates; and
4) The applicant has passed a board approved examination; provided, however, that the board may provide by rule or regulation for a waiver of any part of such examination for veterinarians who are licensed as such by another state and who are in good standing therewith; and
5) The applicant meets such other qualifications or provides such other information as the board may require by rule.

O.C.G.A. § 43-50-31 provides that the application must be accompanied by a fee in the amount established by the board.  If the board determines that an applicant possesses the proper qualifications, it must admit the applicant to the next examination.  However, the board may provide by rule for waiver of any part of such examination for veterinarians who are licensed as such by another state and who are in good standing therewith.

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 43-50-32, the board shall hold at least one license examination during each year and may hold such additional license examinations as are necessary.  The board issues licenses to the persons successfully completing the examination. If an applicant fails a license examination, the applicant may take a subsequent examination upon payment of the registration and examination fees. No person may take the examination more than three times without review and approval by the board. Approval may be provided under such circumstances as the board deems appropriate.

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 43-50-40, licenses and registrations must be renewable biennially. Any person who shall practice veterinary medicine or veterinary technology after the expiration of his or her license or registration and willfully or by neglect fail to renew such license or registration shall be practicing in violation of this article, provided that any person may renew an expired license or registration within the period established by the division director in accordance with Code Section 43-1-4 by making application for renewal and paying the applicable fees. After the time period established by the division director has elapsed, such license or registration may be reinstated in accordance with the rules of the board.

O.C.G.A. § 43-50-40 provides that the board may by rule waive the payment of the renewal fee of a licensed veterinarian or registered veterinary technician during the period when he or she is on active duty with any branch of the armed forces of the United States, not to exceed the longer of three years or the duration of a national emergency.

O.C.G.A. § 43-50-40 provides that the board shall establish a program of continuing professional veterinary medical education for the renewal of veterinary licenses. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, no license to practice veterinary medicine shall be renewed by the board or the division director until the licensed veterinarian submits to the board satisfactory proof of his or her participation, during the biennium preceding his or her application for renewal, in approved programs of continuing education, as defined in this Code section. The amount of continuing veterinary medical education required of licensed veterinarians by the board shall not be less than 30 hours and shall be established by board rule.

O.C.G.A. § 43-50-40 provides that the board shall provide by regulation for an inactive status license or registration for those individuals who elect to apply for such status. Persons who are granted inactive status shall not engage in the practice of veterinary medicine or veterinary technology and shall be exempt from the requirements of continuing veterinary medical education during such inactivity.

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 43-50-42, the board may issue a temporary license to the following applicants who are qualified to take the veterinary license examination:

1) An applicant licensed in another state. Such license shall have the same force and effect as a permanent license until the time of its expiration; and
2) An applicant who is not the holder of any veterinary license. Such license shall authorize the applicant to work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian as provided by the board

O.C.G.A. § 43-50-42 provides that the temporary license expires on the date that permanent licenses are issued to persons who have passed the examination, which examination occurred immediately following the issuance of the temporary license.   A temporary license issued may, in the discretion of the board, be renewed for one six-month period only; provided, however, that no temporary license must be issued, renewed, or reissued to a person who fails to pass the examination established by the board.

Exemptions from Licensing and Registration

Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 43-50-44, the following persons are exempted:

1) (A) An employee of the federal, state, or local government or any contractual partner thereof from performing his or her duties relating to animals owned by or on loan to such employer or the control of stray animals; or
(B) Any employee of a public or private college or university from performing his or her duties relating to animals owned by or on loan to such employer;

2) A person who is a regular student in a veterinary school or school of veterinary technology performing duties or actions assigned by his or her instructors or working under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian;
3) A person, compensated or otherwise, from performing acceptable livestock management practices, which practices shall include, but not be limited to, castration of food animals, dehorning without the use of prescription drugs or surgical closure of wounds, hoof trimming or shoeing, docking, ear notching, removing needle teeth, testing for pregnancy, implantation of over-the-counter growth implants, implantation of over-the-counter identification devices, artificial insemination, the use of federally approved over-the-counter products, branding, collecting of fluids for genetic identification and classification, semen collection and storage, and the use of ultrasound for collection of production data and similar nondiagnostic purposes;
4) A person assisting with a nonsurgical fetal delivery in a food animal, provided that no fee is charged;

5) The actions of a veterinarian currently licensed in another state, province of Canada, or a United States territory in consulting with a licensee of Georgia but who:

(A) Does not open an office or appoint a place to do business within this state;
(B) Does not print or use letterhead or business cards reflecting in-state addresses;
(C) Does not establish answering services or advertise the existence of a practice address within this state;
(D) Does not practice veterinary medicine as a consultant rendering services directly to the public without the direction of a licensed veterinarian of this state more than two days per calendar year; and
(E) Is providing services for an organization conducting a public event lasting less than ten days that utilizes animals in need of veterinary examinations, treatments, or oversight to promote the safety and health of the public, the event, and the animal participants; provided, however, that a veterinarian licensed in another state who practices veterinary medicine on animals belonging to residents of this state by communicating directly with such owners and independent of the attending veterinary licensee is not exempt from this state’s licensing requirements;

6) Any merchant or manufacturer selling, at his or her regular place of business, medicines, feed, appliances, or other products used in the prevention or treatment of animal diseases. This shall not be construed to authorize the sale of medicines which must be obtained by a prescription from a pharmacist but shall only include the right to sell those medicines which are classified as proprietary and which are commonly known as over-the-counter medicines;

7)(A) The owner of an animal or the owner’s full-time regular employee caring for and treating the animal belonging to such owner; or
(B) The owner’s friend or relative caring for or treating the animal belonging to such owner, provided that no fee is charged and the friend or relative does not solicit, advertise, or regularly engage in providing such care or treatment or administer or dispense prescription drugs without a valid prescription;

8) The owner, operator, or employee of a licensed kennel, animal shelter, or stable or of a pet-sitting service providing food, shelter, or supervision of an animal or administering prescription drugs pursuant to prescription of a licensed veterinarian or over-the-counter medicine to an animal;

9) A member of the faculty, a resident, an intern, or a graduate student of an accredited college or school of veterinary medicine or school of veterinary technology performing his or her regular nonclinical functions or a person lecturing or giving instructions or demonstrations at an accredited college or school of veterinary medicine or school of veterinary technology in connection with a continuing education course or seminar;
10) Any person selling or applying any pesticide, insecticide, or herbicide;
11) Any person engaging in bona fide scientific research which reasonably requires experimentation involving animals;
12) Any person performing artificial insemination;
13) An employee of a licensed veterinarian administering prescribed care to an animal under the appropriate supervision of the veterinarian;
14) A graduate of a foreign college or school of veterinary medicine who is in the process of obtaining the ECFVG certificate or its substantial equivalent performing duties or actions under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian;

15) The owner of an animal, the owner’s employee, or a member of a nationally recognized organization that acknowledges individuals performing embryo transfer or artificial breeding and which organization is approved by the board from:

(A) The nonsurgical removal of an embryo from an animal for the purpose of transplanting such embryo into another female animal, cryopreserving such embryo, or implanting such embryo in an animal, provided that the use of prescription medications in such animals is maintained under the direction of a licensed veterinarian with a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship; or
(B) The testing and evaluation of semen;

16) Any other licensed or registered health care provider utilizing his or her special skills so long as the treatment of the animal is under the direction of a licensed veterinarian with a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship;
17) A person performing soft tissue animal massage or other forms of soft tissue animal manipulation;
18) A person performing aquaculture or raniculture management practices;
19) A person implanting electronic identification devices in small companion animals;
20) An employee or contractual partner of a zoological park or aquarium accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association or other substantially equivalent nationally recognized accrediting agency as determined by the board from performing his or her duties that are approved by a licensed veterinarian and relate to animals owned by or on loan to such zoological park or aquarium; or
21) Any person lawfully engaged in the art or profession of farriery.

Unlawful acts and Penalties

ursuant to O.C.G.A. § 43-50-45, any person who practices veterinary medicine without a valid license in violation of this article is guilty of the misdemeanor offense of practicing veterinary medicine without a license and, upon conviction thereof, must be punished as provided in this Code section.  However, each act of such unlawful practice constitutes a distinct and separate offense.

O.C.G.A. § 43-50-45 provides that upon being convicted a first time under this Code section, such person shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.00 for each offense. Upon being convicted a second or subsequent time under this Code section, such person shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 for each offense, imprisonment for not more than 12 months, or both such fine and imprisonment.r each offense, imprisonment for not more than 12 months, or both such fine and imprisonment.

O.C.G.A. § 43-50-45 provides that the board or any citizen of this state may bring an action to enjoin any person from practicing veterinary medicine without a valid license. If the court finds that the person is violating, or is threatening to violate, this article, it shall enter an injunction restraining him or her from such unlawful acts.


Inside Georgia Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians