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Iowa Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians

Iowa Veterinary Practice Act governs the laws on regulation and licensing of veterinarians.

Licensing

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.4, a person may not practice veterinary medicine in Iowa who is not a licensed veterinarian or the holder of a valid temporary permit issued by the board.   However, the following are exemptions.

1)  An employee of the federal, state, or local government from performing official duties.
2)  A person who is a veterinary student in an accredited or approved college of veterinary medicine from performing duties or actions assigned by instructors, or working under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian. The board shall issue to any veterinary medicine student who attends an accredited veterinary medicine college or school and who has been certified as being competent by an instructor of such college or school to perform veterinary duties under the direction of an instructor of veterinary medicine or under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian, a certificate authorizing the veterinary medicine student to perform such functions.
3)  A veterinarian currently licensed in another state from consulting with a licensed veterinarian in this state.
4)  Any manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer from advising with respect to or selling in the ordinary course of trade or business, drugs, feeds, including, but not limited to customer-formula feeds as defined in section 198.3, appliances, and other products used in the prevention or treatment of animal diseases.
5)  The owner of an animal or the owner’s bona fide employees from caring for and treating the animal in the possession of such owner except where the ownership of the animal was transferred solely for the purpose of circumventing this chapter.
6)  A member of the faculty of an accredited college of veterinary medicine from performing functions in the classrooms or continuing education. However, those faculty members who have professional responsibility to the owner must be licensed. A temporary permit may be granted for a period not to exceed two years to interns or residents who are on the staff of the college of veterinary medicine of Iowa state university of science and technology. Such permit shall be renewable annually upon the application of the dean of the college of veterinary medicine.
7)  Any person from manufacturing, selling, offering for sale, or applying any pesticide, insecticide, or herbicide.
8)  Any person from engaging in bona fide scientific research which reasonably requires experimentation involving animals.
9) Any veterinary assistant employed by a licensed veterinarian from performing duties other than diagnosis, prescription, or surgery under the direct supervision of such veterinarian which assistant has been issued a certificate by the board subject to section 169.20.
10)  A graduate of a foreign college of veterinary medicine who is in the process of obtaining an ECFVG certificate for performing duties or actions under the direction or supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
11)  Any person from advising with respect to or performing accepted livestock management practices.
12)  Any person from engaging in the full-time study of the improvement of the quality of livestock.
13)  Any person from performing post-mortem examinations on swine or cattle.
14)  Any person from collecting or evaluating semen from livestock or poultry, or artificial insemination of livestock and poultry.
15) Any person from castrating, dehorning or branding notwithstanding section 169A.14.

Board of Veterinary Medicine

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.5, the governor shall appoint, subject to confirmation by the senate pursuant to section 2.32, a board of five individuals, three of whom shall be licensed veterinarians and two of whom shall not be licensed veterinarians and shall represent the general public. The board shall be known as the Iowa board of veterinary medicine.

Iowa Code § 169.5 provides that each licensed veterinarian board member shall be actively engaged in veterinary medicine and shall have been so engaged for a period of five years immediately preceding appointment, the last two of which shall have been in Iowa. The representatives of the general public shall be knowledgeable in the area of animal husbandry. A member of the board shall not be employed by or have any material or financial interest in any wholesale or jobbing house dealing in supplies, equipment, or instruments used or useful in the practice of veterinary medicine.

Iowa Code § 169.5 provides that the members of the board shall be appointed for a term of three years, except the terms of the members of the initial board shall be rotated in such a manner that at least one member shall retire each year and a successor be appointed.  The board shall meet at least once each year as determined by the board. Other necessary meetings may be called by the president of the board by giving proper notice. Except as provided, a majority of the board constitutes a quorum. Meetings shall be open and public except that the board may meet in closed session to prepare, approve, administer, or grade examinations, or to deliberate the qualifications of an applicant for license or the disposition of a proceeding to discipline a licensed veterinarian.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.5, the duties of the board shall include carrying on the correspondence of the board, keeping permanent accounts and records of all receipts and disbursements by the board and of all board proceedings, including the disposition of all applications for a license, and keeping a register of all persons currently licensed by the board. The representatives of the general public shall not prepare, grade, or otherwise administer examinations to applicants for a license to practice veterinary medicine. All board records shall be open to public inspection during regular office hours.

Upon a three-fifths vote, the board may:

a.  Examine and determine the qualifications and fitness of applicants for a license to practice veterinary medicine in the state.
b.  Issue, renew, or deny issuance or renewal of licenses and temporary permits to practice veterinary medicine in this state.
c.  Establish and publish annually a schedule of fees for licensing and registration of veterinarians. The fees shall be set by rule and shall include fees for a license to practice veterinary medicine issued upon the basis of the examination, a license granted on the basis of reciprocity, a renewal of a license to practice veterinary medicine, a certified statement that a licensee is licensed to practice in this state, and an issuance of a duplicate license when the original is lost or destroyed.
d.  Conduct investigations for the purpose of discovering violations of this chapter or grounds for disciplining licensed veterinarians.
e.  Hold hearings on all matters properly brought before the board and administer oaths, receive evidence, make the necessary determinations, and enter orders consistent with the findings. The board may require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of papers, records, or other documentary evidence and commission depositions. An administrative law judge may be appointed pursuant to section 17A.11 to perform those functions which properly repose in an administrative law judge.
f.  Employ full-time or part-time personnel, professional, clerical, or special, as are necessary to effectuate the provisions of this chapter.
g.  Appoint from its own membership one or more members to act as representatives of the board at any meeting within or without the state where such representation is deemed desirable.
h.  Bring proceedings in the courts for the enforcement of this chapter or any regulations made pursuant to this chapter.
i.  Adopt, amend, or repeal rules relating to the standards of conduct for, testing of, and revocation or suspension of certificates issued to veterinary assistants. However, a certificate shall not be suspended or revoked by less than a two-thirds vote of the entire board in a proceeding conducted in compliance with section 17A.12.
j.  Adopt, amend, or repeal all rules necessary for its government and all regulations necessary to carry into effect the provision of this chapter, including the establishment and publication of standards of professional conduct for the practice of veterinary medicine.

Qualifications for Veterinarians

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.8, any person desiring a license to practice veterinary medicine in this state shall make written application to the board on a form approved by the board. The application shall show that the applicant is a graduate of an accredited or approved college of veterinary medicine or the holder of an ECFVG certificate. If the board determines that the applicant possesses the proper qualifications, it shall admit the applicant to the next examination, or if the applicant is eligible for license without examination under section 169.10, the board may grant a license to the applicant.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.8, if an applicant is found not qualified to take the examination or for a license without examination, the secretary of the board immediately notifies the applicant in writing of such finding and the grounds therefor.  An applicant found unqualified may request a hearing on the question of the applicant’s qualification.  Based upon an applicant’s education, experience, and training, the board may grant a limited license to an applicant to perform a restricted range of activities within the practice of veterinary medicine, as specified by the board.

Iowa Code § 169.8 provides that when any person licensed to practice under this chapter changes residence, the board shall be notified within thirty days and such change shall be noted in the registry book.Every individual licensed under this chapter shall keep the license displayed in the place at which an office is maintained.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.9, the board shall hold at least one examination during each year and may hold such additional examinations as it deems necessary. The secretary shall give public notice of the time and place for each examination at least ninety days in advance of the date set for the examination. A person desiring to take an examination shall make application at least thirty days before the date of the examination.  The preparation, administration, and grading of examinations must be governed by rules prescribed by the board.  After each examination, the board must notify each examinee of the examination result, and the board must issue licenses to the individuals successfully completing the examination.  The board must record the new licenses and issue a certificate of registration to the new licensees.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.10, the board issues a license to practice veterinary medicine in Iowa without written examination to an applicant who meets all of the following requirements:

a.  Has graduated from an accredited college of veterinary medicine or has received a certificate from the educational commission for foreign veterinary graduates at least five years prior to application.
b.  Has actively practiced for at least two thousand hours during the five years preceding application.
c.  Has not previously failed and not subsequently passed a veterinary licensing examination in this state.
d.  Holds a current license to practice veterinary medicine in another state or United States territory or province of Canada.
e.  Is not subject to license investigation, suspension, or revocation in any state, United States territory, or province of Canada.
f.  Provides other information and proof as the board may require by rule.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.10, the board may issue a license to practice veterinary medicine in this state without written or oral examination to an applicant who meets all of the following requirements:

a. Holds a current certification as a diplomate of a national specialty board or college recognized by the board by rule.
b.  Is not subject to license investigation, suspension, or revocation in any state, United States territory, or province of Canada.
c.  Provides other information and proof as the board may require by rule.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.11, the board issues without examination a temporary permit to practice veterinary medicine in Iowa:

1.  To a qualified applicant for license pending examination and the temporary permit shall expire the day after the notice of results of the first examination given after the permit is issued. The temporary permit holder should keep the secretary continually advised of the permit holder’s current address.
2.  To a nonresident veterinarian validly licensed in another state, territory, or district of the United States or a foreign country who pays the fee established and published by the board. Such temporary permit shall be issued for a period of no more than one hundred eighty days and no more than one permit shall be issued to a person during each calendar year.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.12, all licenses shall expire in multiyear intervals as determined by the board but may be renewed by registration with the board and payment of the registration renewal fee established and published by the board. Prior to expiration the secretary shall mail a notice to each licensed veterinarian that the license will expire and provide the licensee with a form for registration.

Any person who shall practice veterinary medicine after license expiration is practicing in violation of this chapter. However, a person may renew an expired license within five years of the date of its expiration by making written application for renewal and paying the current renewal fee plus all delinquent renewal fees. After five years have elapsed since the date of expiration, a license may not be renewed, and the holder must make application for a new license and take the license examination.

Iowa Code § 169.12 provides that the board may by rule waive the payment of the registration renewal fee of a licensed veterinarian during the period when the veterinarian is on active duty with any branch of the armed services of the United States.

Discipline of licensees

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.13, the board of veterinary medicine, after due notice and hearing, may revoke or suspend a license to practice veterinary medicine if it determines that a veterinarian licensed to practice veterinary medicine is guilty of any of the following acts or offenses:

a.  Knowingly making misleading, deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representation in the practice of the profession.
b.  Being convicted of a felony in the courts of Iowa or another state, territory, or country.
c.  Violating a statute or law of this state, another state, or the United States, without regard to its designation as either felony or misdemeanor, which statute or law relates to the practice of veterinary medicine.
d.  Having the person’s license to practice veterinary medicine revoked or suspended, or having other disciplinary action taken by a licensing authority of another state, territory, or country. A certified copy of the record or order of suspension, revocation, or disciplinary action is conclusive or prima facie evidence.
e.  Knowingly aiding, assisting, procuring, or advising a person to unlawfully practice veterinary medicine.
f.  Being adjudged mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction. The adjudication shall automatically suspend a license for the duration of the license unless the board orders otherwise.
g.  Being guilty of a willful or repeated departure from, or the failure to conform to, the minimal standard of acceptable and prevailing practice of veterinary medicine as defined in rules adopted by the board, in which proceeding actual injury to an animal need not be established; or the committing by a veterinarian of an act contrary to honesty, justice, or good morals, whether the act is committed in the course of the practice or otherwise, and whether committed within or without this state.
h.  Inability to practice veterinary medicine with reasonable skill and safety by reason of illness, drunkenness, excessive use of drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or other type of material or as a result of a mental or physical condition.
i.  Willful or repeated violation of lawful rules adopted by the board or violation of a lawful order of the board, previously entered by the board in a disciplinary hearing.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.13, the board, upon probable cause, may compel a veterinarian to submit to a mental or physical examination by designated physicians. Failure of a veterinarian to submit to an examination constitutes an admission to the allegations made against that veterinarian and the finding of fact and decision of the board may be entered without the taking of testimony or presentation of evidence. At reasonable intervals, a veterinarian shall be afforded an opportunity to demonstrate that the veterinarian can resume the competent practice of veterinary medicine with reasonable skill and safety to animals.

Procedure for Suspension or Revocation

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.14, a proceeding for the revocation or suspension of a license to practice veterinary medicine or to discipline a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine shall be substantially in accord with the following:

The board, upon its own motion or upon a verified complaint in writing, may request the department of inspections and appeals to conduct an investigation of the charges contained in the complaint. The department of inspections and appeals shall report its findings to the board, and the board may issue an order fixing the time and place for hearing if a hearing is deemed warranted. A written notice of the time and place of the hearing, together with a statement of the charges, shall be served upon the licensee at least ten days before the hearing in the manner required for the service of notice of the commencement of an ordinary action.

If the licensee has left the state, the notice and statement of the charges shall be so served at least twenty days before the date of the hearing, wherever the licensee may be found. If the whereabouts of the licensee is unknown, service may be had by publication as provided in the rules of civil procedure upon filing the affidavit required by those rules. If the licensee fails to appear either in person or by counsel at the time and place designated in the notice, the board shall proceed with the hearing.

The hearing must be before a member or members designated by the board or before an administrative law judge appointed by the board according to the requirements of section 17A.11, subsection 1. The presiding board member or administrative law judge may issue subpoenas, administer oaths, and take or cause depositions to be taken in connection with the hearing. The member or officer shall issue subpoenas at the request and on behalf of the licensee.

A mechanized or stenographic record of the proceedings shall be kept. The licensee shall be given the opportunity to appear personally and by attorney, with the right to produce evidence in one’s own behalf, to examine and cross-examine witnesses, and to examine documentary evidence produced against the licensee.

If a person refuses to obey a subpoena issued by the presiding member or administrative law judge or to answer a proper question put to that person during the hearing, the presiding member or administrative law judge may invoke the aid of a court of competent jurisdiction in requiring the attendance and testimony of that person and the production of papers. A failure to obey the order of the court may be punished by the court as a civil contempt may be punished.

Unless the hearing is before the entire board, a transcript of the proceeding, together with exhibits presented, shall be considered by the entire board at the earliest practicable time. The licensee and attorney shall be given the opportunity to appear personally to present the licensee’s position and arguments to the board. The board shall determine the charge upon the merits on the basis of the evidence in the record before it.

Upon three members of the board voting in favor of finding the licensee guilty of an act or offense specified in section 169.13, the board shall prepare written findings of fact and its decision imposing one or more of the following disciplinary measures:

a.  Suspend the license to practice veterinary medicine for a period to be determined by the board.
b.  Revoke the license to practice veterinary medicine.
c.  Suspend imposition of judgment and penalty or impose the judgment and penalty, but suspend enforcement and place the veterinarian on probation. The probation ordered may be vacated upon noncompliance. The board may restore and reissue a license to practice veterinary medicine, and may impose a disciplinary or corrective measure which it might originally have imposed.

Any party aggrieved by a decision of the board may appeal the matter to the district court as provided in section 17A.19[iv].

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.16, a person whose license is suspended or revoked may be relicensed or reinstated at any time by a vote of five members of the board after written application made to the board showing cause justifying relicensing or reinstatement. Examination of the applicant may be waived by the board.

Violations and Penalties

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.17, any person who shall file or attempt to file with the department or board of veterinary medicine any false or forged diploma or certificate or affidavit of identification or qualification is guilty of a fraudulent practice.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.18, any person who shall present to the department or board of veterinary medicine a diploma or certificate of which the person is not the rightful owner, for the purpose of procuring a license, or who shall falsely impersonate anyone to whom a license has been granted by said department, is guilty of a fraudulent practice.

Pursuant to Iowa Code § 169.19, any person who practices veterinary medicine without a currently valid license or temporary permit is guilty of a fraudulent practice. Each act of such unlawful practice shall constitute a distinct and separate offense.A person who shall practice veterinary medicine without a currently valid license or temporary permit shall not receive any compensation for services so rendered.

Iowa Code § 169.19 provides that the county attorney of the county in which any violation of this chapter occurs shall conduct the necessary prosecution for such violation. Notwithstanding this provision, the board of veterinary medicine or any citizen of this state may bring an action to enjoin any person from practicing veterinary medicine without a currently valid license or temporary permit. The action brought to restrain a person from engaging in the practice of veterinary medicine without possessing a license shall be brought in the name of the state of Iowa. If the court finds that the individual is violating or threatening to violate this chapter it shall enter an injunction restraining the individual from such unlawful acts.

[i] Iowa Code § 169.4.

[ii] Iowa Code § 169.5.

[iii] Iowa Code § 169.14.

[iv] Iowa Code § 169.15.


Inside Iowa Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians