The Missouri laws on regulation and licensing of veterinarians are found in §§ 340.200 through 340.405 R.S.Mo. Pursuant to the statutes, a board is created to be known as the “Missouri Veterinary Medical Board”. The board must consist of the state veterinarian, who must serve ex officio, and five appointed members, including a voting public member. Not more than three of the appointed members must be of the same political party. Each appointed member, other than the public member, of the board must be a United States citizen, a taxpaying resident of the state of Missouri for one year, a graduate of an accredited school of veterinary medicine, and must have been lawfully engaged in the actual practice of veterinary medicine in the state of Missouri for no less than five years next preceding the date of the member’s appointment. The public member must be at the time of the public member’s appointment, a citizen of the United States; a resident of Missouri for a period of one year and a registered voter; a person who is not and never has been a member of any profession licensed or regulated pursuant to sections 340.200 to 340.330 or the spouse of such person; and a person who does not have and never has had a material, financial interest in either the providing of the professional services regulated by sections 340.200 to 340.330, or an activity or organization directly related to any profession licensed or regulated pursuant to sections 340.200 to 340.330. The duties of the public member must not include the determination of the technical requirements to be met for licensure or whether any person meets such technical requirements or of the technical competence or technical judgment of a licensee or candidate for licensure. All members must be appointed to serve four-year terms. Any vacancy in the membership of the board must be filled by appointment for the unexpired term[i].
Powers of Board
In Missouri, the board must adopt and have a common seal bearing the name “Missouri Veterinary Medical Board”. The powers of the board are granted to enable the board to effectively supervise the practice of veterinary medicine and to carry out the intent and provisions of sections 340.200 to 340.330, and, therefore, are to be construed liberally in order to accomplish such objectives. Including, but not limited to, the board must have the power to:
(1) Examine and determine the qualifications and fitness of applicants for a license to practice veterinary medicine in this state;
(2) Issue, renew, deny, suspend, revoke, or place on probation any license, certificate, authority or permit to practice or assist in the practice of veterinary medicine in this state, or to otherwise discipline or assess civil monetary penalties or order restitution, or other actions consistent with the provisions of sections 340.200 to 340.330 and the rules adopted thereunder;
(3) Conduct investigations of complaints or other investigations as deemed necessary by the board for the purpose of discovering violations of* sections 340.200 to 340.330 or grounds for disciplining any person licensed or regulated under sections 340.200 to 340.330, and to contract for or appoint persons or committees to assist in such investigations;
(4) Hold hearings, issue subpoenas and take testimony bearing on the records of applicants for licensing or licensees who may be under consideration by the board for discipline and to issue final orders of the board on such matters that come before the board;
(5) Issue permits to and, upon complaint by any person, inspect any veterinary facility utilized by any practicing veterinarian or from which the practice of veterinary medicine is conducted. Such inspection shall not include any vehicle used in the practice of veterinary medicine, unless the board has received a complaint regarding such vehicle, then the board may inspect the vehicle. Such inspection shall be made by the board, a board member or other authorized representatives as appointed by the board. The results of the inspection shall be reported to the board, on forms prescribed by the board, the purpose of which shall be to ensure compliance with the provisions of sections 340.200 to 340.330 or board rules promulgated thereunder for such facilities or for seeking disciplinary action in all instances where the board has reason to believe there are or may be violations of such provisions or rules;
(6) Provide registration for veterinary technicians, temporary licensees and provisional licensees and to adopt rules concerning the training, supervision and service limits, and continuing education of such persons while employed or acting under the supervision of licensed veterinarians and to have exclusive jurisdiction in determining the eligibility and qualification requirements and in granting or refusing to grant any registration, certificate or license for any such person or to discipline any person so registered or licensed under the provisions of sections 340.200 to 340.330 or by board rule;
(7) Fix by board rule minimum standards for, but not limited to, the practice of veterinary medicine, medical records, emergency services, radiological services, dispensed drug labeling, nursing care, veterinary facilities, sanitation and sterilization, veterinarian-client-patient relationships, and continuing education;
(8) Employ full- or part-time personnel, including an executive director, professional, clerical or special personnel as necessary to effectuate the provisions of sections 340.200 to 340.330 and to rent or purchase any necessary space, equipment and supplies within available appropriations;
(9) Establish fees necessary to administer the provisions of sections 340.200 to 340.330;
(10) Authorize the chairman or vice chairman to sign complaints or referrals for proceedings before the administrative hearing commission or in a court of competent jurisdiction as necessary for the enforcement of sections 340.200 to 340.330;
(11) Appoint from its own membership one or more members to act as representatives of the board at any meeting within or without the state when such representation is deemed desirable;
(12) Establish standing or ad hoc committees from its membership to facilitate its work effectively, fulfill its duties and to exercise its powers. Such committees must consist of at least two board members to transact business. Any business or action of the committee shall have no effect until and unless the business or action is ratified by a majority vote of the full board;
(13) Adopt, amend or repeal all rules necessary to carry into effect the provisions of sections 340.200 to 340.330, including, but not limited to, the establishment and publication of rules of professional conduct for the practice of veterinary medicine and such rules as it deems necessary to supervise the practice of veterinary medicine. Such rules must be published and made available upon request to persons licensed or registered under sections 340.200 to 340.330 at no cost and distributed at no cost to all applicants for licensing or registration under sections 340.200 to 340.330. Any proposed rulemaking, revision or amendment thereto, shall be accomplished in accordance with the requirements and provisions of chapter 536;
(14) Assist the attorney general in any proper action to oust from practice unlawful practitioners or remove from practice licensed or registered persons in violation of any provision of sections 340.200 to 340.330 or board rule and assist with any prosecution for criminal violations of sections 340.200 to 340.330; and
(15) Enter into contracts with any entity, public or private, for the purpose of having examinations prepared, graded, evaluated, proctored, or for any other examination service deemed desirable or necessary by the board.
Licensing of Veterinarians
Pursuant to Missouri law, it is unlawful for any person not licensed as a veterinarian under the provisions of sections 340.200 to 340.330 to practice veterinary medicine or to do any act which requires knowledge of veterinary medicine for valuable consideration, or for any person not so licensed to hold himself or herself out to the public as a practitioner of veterinary medicine by advertisement, the use of any title or abbreviation with the person’s name, or otherwise; except that nothing in sections 340.200 to 340.330 shall be construed as prohibiting:
(1) Any person from gratuitously providing emergency treatment, aid or assistance to animals where a licensed veterinarian is not available within a reasonable length of time if the person does not represent himself or herself to be a veterinarian or use any title or degree appertaining to the practice thereof;
(2) Acts of a person who is a student in good standing in a school or college of veterinary medicine or while working as a student preceptee, in performing duties or functions assigned by the student’s instructors, or while working under the appropriate level of supervision of a licensed veterinarian as is consistent with the particular delegated animal health care task as established by board rule, and acts performed by a student in a school or college of veterinary medicine recognized by the board and performed as part of the education and training curriculum of the school under the supervision of the faculty. The unsupervised or unauthorized practice of veterinary medicine, even though on the premises of a school or college of veterinary medicine, is prohibited;
(3) Personnel employed by the United States Department of Agriculture or the Missouri department of agriculture from engaging in animal disease, parasite control or eradication programs, or other functions specifically required and authorized to be performed by unlicensed federal or state officials under any lawful act or statute, except that this exemption shall not apply to such persons not actively engaged in performing or fulfilling their official duties and responsibilities;
(4) Any merchant or manufacturer from selling drugs, medicine, appliances or other products used in the prevention or treatment of animal diseases if such drug, medicine, appliance or other product is not marked by the appropriate federal label. Such merchants or manufacturers shall not, either directly or indirectly, attempt to diagnose a symptom or disease in order to advise treatment, use of drugs, medicine, appliances or other products;
(5) The owner of any animal or animals and the owner’s full-time employees from caring for and treating any animals belonging to such owner, with or without the advice and consultation of a licensed veterinarian, provided that the ownership of the animal or animals is not transferred, or employment changed, to avoid the provisions of sections 340.200 to 340.330; however, only a licensed veterinarian may immunize or treat an animal for diseases which are communicable to humans and which are of public health significance, except as otherwise provided for by board rule;
(6) Any graduate of any accredited school of veterinary medicine while engaged in a veterinary candidacy program or foreign graduate from a nonaccredited school or college of veterinary medicine while engaged in a veterinary candidacy program or clinical evaluation program, and while under the appropriate level of supervision of a licensed veterinarian performing acts which are consistent with the particular delegated animal health care task;
(7) State agencies, accredited schools, institutions, foundations, business corporations or associations, physicians licensed to practice medicine and surgery in all its branches, graduate doctors of veterinary medicine, or persons under the direct supervision thereof from conducting experiments and scientific research on animals in the development of pharmaceuticals, biologicals, serums, or methods of treatment, or techniques for the diagnosis or treatment of human ailments, or when engaged in the study and development of methods and techniques directly or indirectly applicable to the problems of the practice of veterinary medicine;
(8) Any veterinary technician, duly registered by, and in good standing with, the board from administering medication, appliances or other products for the treatment of animals while under the appropriate level of supervision as is consistent with the delegated animal health care task; and
(9) A consulting veterinarian while working in a consulting capacity in Missouri while under the immediate supervision of a veterinarian licensed and in good standing under sections 340.200 to 340.330.
However, nothing in sections 340.200 to 340.330 shall be construed as limiting the board’s authority to provide other exemptions or exceptions to the requirements of licensing as the board may find necessary or appropriate under its rulemaking authority.
A licensed veterinarian may practice veterinary medicine as an employee of a corporation, partnership or other business organization only so long as the articles of incorporation, partnership agreement or business organization documents clearly state that the licensed veterinarian is not subject to the direction of anyone not licensed to practice veterinary medicine in Missouri in making veterinary medical decisions or judgments.
The provisions do not apply to:
(1) A veterinarian treating his or her employer’s animals;
(2) A veterinarian employed by an agency of the federal or state government or any political subdivision thereof; or
(3) A veterinarian employed by a licensed research facility.
Moreover, the provisions of subsection 1 of this section do not apply to any partnership, employee or owner if such partnership, employment or ownership is in existence and has been in existence for a period of six months prior to August 28, 1992. Such partnership, employee or owner shall be recognized by the board and continue existing operations if such partnership, employee or owner complies with all other provisions of sections 340.200 to 340.330. The provisions of subsection 1 shall apply when any partnership of record on August 28, 1992, changes because of death, dissolution, removal, admittance of new partners or by any other means or when employment or ownership is changed in any manner.
The statute further states that any person desiring a license to practice veterinary medicine in the state of Missouri shall make a written application to the board on forms to be provided by the board. The board shall provide such forms without charge upon the applicant’s request. Each application shall contain a statement that is made under oath or affirmation that representations made therein are true, correct and contain no material omissions of fact to the best knowledge and belief of the person making the application and whose signature shall be subscribed thereto. Any person who knowingly submits false information, information intended to mislead the board, or omits a material fact on the application shall be subject to penalties provided for by the laws of this state for giving a false statement under oath or affirmation, in addition to any actions which the board may take pursuant to the provisions of sections 340.200 to 340.330. To qualify for licensure under sections 340.200 to 340.330, the application must show that the applicant:
(1) Is a person of good moral character;
(2) Is a graduate of an accredited school of veterinary medicine;
(3) Has completed a veterinary candidacy program after graduation under the supervision of a veterinarian licensed and in good standing in any state, territory or district of the United States. The supervising veterinarian shall submit an affidavit to the board stating that the applicant has satisfactorily completed the veterinary candidacy program. If the applicant submits satisfactory proof that he or she has completed a student preceptor program recognized and approved by the board before graduation, the board may waive the veterinary candidacy requirement; and
(4) Has passed an examination or examinations as prescribed by board rule. The examination or examinations shall be designed to test the examinee’s knowledge of, and proficiency in, subjects and techniques commonly taught in schools of veterinary medicine, the requirements of sections 340.200 to 340.330, other related statutes and administrative rules and other material as determined by the board. An examinee must demonstrate scientific, practical and legal knowledge sufficient to establish for the board that the examinee is competent to practice veterinary medicine. The examination or examinations will only be given in the English language. Applications for examination shall be in writing, on a form furnished by the board and shall include evidence satisfactory to the board that the applicant possesses the qualifications set forth in this section.
If the board determines that the applicant possesses the proper qualifications as set forth in subsection 3 of section 340.228, it must admit the applicant to the next scheduled examination. Applicants must submit an application and the registration and examination fees as required by rule of the board. The board must establish the requirements for a passing score on the examination. In order for a previous examination score to be transferred for a current licensing period, the score must have been received within five years prior to the application. If that passing score was not received within three attempts, the board may require the applicant to appear before the board or submit evidence that the applicant has completed at least thirty hours of board-approved continuing education. The board shall have sole discretion on whether to accept for transfer a score from another state’s licensing authority. If all the other requirements of sections 340.200 to 340.330 have been met, the board shall issue licenses to the persons who successfully completed the examination. The executive director shall record the new licenses.
If the board determines that the applicant is eligible for licensure without examination through the reciprocity provision of section 340.238, the board may grant the applicant a license without examination.
Furthermore, the board may issue a license to practice veterinary medicine to an applicant, without examination, if the applicant submits proof satisfactory to the board of the following requirements for licensure by reciprocity:
(1) The applicant has been actively engaged in the profession in another state, territory, district or province of the United States or Canada for a period of at least five consecutive years immediately prior to making application in Missouri and provides the board with a complete listing of all locations of all previous places of practice and licensure in chronological order;
(2) A certificate from the proper licensing authority of the other state, territory, district or province of the United States or Canada certifying that the applicant is duly licensed, that the applicant’s license has never been suspended, revoked, surrendered, or placed on probation, whether voluntarily or not, and that, insofar as the records of that authority are concerned, the applicant is entitled to its endorsement;
(3) The standards for admission to practice veterinary medicine of the state, territory, district or province of the United States or Canada in which the applicant is currently licensed were equal to or more stringent than the requirements for initial registration in Missouri at the time of the applicant’s initial registration.
Even if the applicant has submitted proof of the qualifications in subsection 1 of this section, the board may by rule require any applicant under this section to take any examination, oral or written, or practical examination if such examination is required for an applicant seeking licensure by examination pursuant to the provisions of sections 340.200 to 340.330. The board may negotiate reciprocal compacts with licensing boards of other states, territories, districts or provinces of the United States or Canada for admission to the practice of veterinary medicine. To determine the admission standards of other states, territories, districts or provinces of the United States or Canada, the executive director shall gather information as directed by the board pertaining to such standards. The board may contract with persons to assist the board in obtaining and evaluating such information and material. The board may issue a license upon payment of a fee for licensure by reciprocity, if the applicant meets the requirements of this section and other provisions of sections 340.200 to 340.330. If the board determines that an applicant is not qualified to be licensed under this section, the executive director shall immediately notify the applicant in writing. The notification shall include specific findings of the board as to the applicant’s failure to qualify under this section, that the applicant may request a hearing before the board on the question of the applicant’s qualifications, that the applicant may otherwise be considered for licensure after examination as provided in section 340.240* and of the applicant’s right pursuant to section 621.120 to file a complaint with the administrative hearing commission.
However, notwithstanding any other provisions of law to the contrary, the board may issue a veterinary faculty license to any qualified applicant associated with the University of Missouri-Columbia, College of Veterinary Medicine and involved in the instructional program of either undergraduate or graduate veterinary medical students, subject to the following conditions:
(1) The holder of the veterinary faculty license is compensated for the practice aspects of his or her services solely from the state, federal or institutional funds and not from the patient-owner beneficiary of his or her practice efforts;
(2) The applicant furnishes the board with such proof as the board may deem necessary to demonstrate that:
(a) The applicant is a graduate of a reputable school or college of veterinary medicine;
(b) The applicant has or will have a faculty position at one of this state’s institutions of higher learning and will be involved in the instructional program of either undergraduate or graduate veterinary medical students, as certified by an authorized administrative official at such institution; and
(c) The applicant understands and agrees that the faculty license is valid only for the practice of veterinary medicine as a faculty member of the institution; and
(3) The applicant takes and passes the state board examination.
Discipline of Veterinarians
Pursuant to the Missouri statutes, the license issued pursuant to this section may be revoked or suspended or the licensee may be otherwise disciplined in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. The license issued pursuant to this section must be canceled by the board upon receipt of information that the holder of the veterinary faculty license has left or has otherwise been discontinued from faculty employment at an institution of higher learning in this state[viii].
Moreover, every license issued under the provisions of sections 340.200 to 340.330 shall expire annually or as otherwise established by board rule but may be renewed by the licensee upon application to the board for renewal and payment of renewal fees, subject to the provisions of this section. The board shall not renew any license unless the licensee provides satisfactory evidence that he or she has complied with the board’s minimum requirements for continuing education. At least thirty days prior to the expiration date, the executive director shall send a notice of renewal and an application for renewal to each licensee of record. The notice and application shall be mailed to the licensee’s last known business address. Neither the failure to mail nor the failure to receive the notice and application shall relieve any licensee of the duty to make application for renewal or to pay the necessary renewal fee. The failure to mail or to receive the notice and application will not exempt the licensee from the penalties provided by sections 340.200 to 340.330 for failure to promptly renew such license.
However, if a person is otherwise eligible to renew his or her license, the person may renew an expired license within two years of the date of expiration. To renew such expired license, the person shall submit an application for renewal, pay the renewal fee, pay a delinquent renewal fee, pay a penalty fee, and submit approved continuing education hours as required by rule of the board. Upon a finding of extenuating circumstances, the board may waive the payment of the penalty fee; however, nothing in this section shall be construed as requiring such waiver. If more than two years have lapsed since the date the license expired, the license may not be renewed. The holder of such expired license must apply under the procedures for a new license pursuant to sections 340.200 to 340.330. § 340.266 R.S.Mo provides that if the board orders the license to be revoked, the board may provide that the person may not apply for reinstatement of license, certificate or registration, or permit for a period of at least one year and not more than seven years following the date of the revocation. Any stay order will toll the period of revocation.
Pursuant to § 340.278 R.S.Mo, upon written application to the board showing cause justifying relicensing and reinstatement, any person whose license has been revoked or suspended by the board may be relicensed or reinstated at any time without examination by a majority vote of the full board. Nothing in subsection 1 of this section shall be construed as requiring the board to reinstate a license due to a showing of justification. Such relicensing or reinstatement is within the sole discretion of the board. The board may condition such reinstatement or relicensing as it deems appropriate under the circumstances, including, but not limited to, restricting or limiting the person’s practice or placing the person on probation under terms and conditions set by the board. Any person who violates any provision of sections 340.200 to 340.330 must, upon conviction in a court of competent jurisdiction, be adjudged guilty of a class A misdemeanor for each offense. The statute provides that the unlawful practice of veterinary medicine must be deemed a separate offense for each animal treated by any person engaged in such unlawful practice[xi].
[i] § 340.202 R.S.Mo.
[ii] § 340.210 R.S.Mo.
[iii] § 340.216 R.S.Mo.
[iv] § 340.226 R.S.Mo.
[v] .§ 340.228 R.S.Mo.
[vi] § 340.234 R.S.Mo.
[vii] § 340.238 R.S.Mo.
[viii]§ 340.247 R.S.Mo.
[ix] § 340.258 R.S.Mo.
[x]§ 340.262 R.S.Mo.
[xi]§ 340.294 R.S.Mo.