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Montana Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians

The Montana laws on regulation and licensing of veterinarians are found in Mont. Code Anno., §§ 37-18-101 through 37-18-606.  A person is considered to be practicing veterinary medicine when the person does any of the following:

(a) represents to the public that the person is a veterinarian or is engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine in any of its branches, either directly or indirectly;

(b) uses words, titles, or letters in this connection or on a display or advertisement or under circumstances so as to induce the belief the person using them is engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine. This use is prima facie evidence of the intention to represent oneself as engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine in any of its branches.

(c) diagnoses, prescribes, or administers a drug, medicine, appliance, application, or treatment of whatever nature or performs a surgical operation or manipulation for the prevention, cure, or relief of a pain, deformity, wound, fracture, bodily injury, physical condition, or disease of animals;

(d) instructs, demonstrates, or solicits by a notice, sign, or other indication, with contract either express or implied, or otherwise, with or without the necessary instruments, for the administration of biologics or medicines or animal disease cures for the prevention and treatment of disease of animals and remedies for the treatment of internal parasites in animals;

(e) performs a manual or laboratory procedure on livestock for the diagnosis of pregnancy, sterility, or infertility for remuneration or hire;

(f) performs acupuncture, ova or embryo transfer, or dentistry on animals;

(g)  instructs others, except those covered under the provisions of 37-18-104(4), for compensation, in any manner how to perform any acts that constitute the practice of veterinary medicine[i].

Licensing of Veterinarians

In Montana, a person may not practice veterinary medicine or veterinary surgery in this state unless licensed and registered as required by this chapter, nor may a person practice veterinary medicine or surgery whose authority to practice is suspended or revoked by the board[ii].

Pursuant to the statutes, a person desiring to begin the practice of veterinary medicine or veterinary surgery in this state or who desires to hold out to the public that the person is a practitioner of veterinary medicine or veterinary surgery, except as provided in 37-18-104, shall apply to the department for a license to do so. The application must be on a form furnished by the department, must be accompanied by satisfactory evidence of the good moral character of the applicant, and must contain evidence of the applicant’s having received a degree from a legally authorized veterinary medical school having educational standards equal to those approved by the American veterinary medical association. On application, a certified transcript of the applicant must be submitted to the department for inspection and verification. The certified transcript remains the property of the department[iii].

Furthermore, the board must, at the conclusion of a regular examination or after investigation, if in its judgment the applicant is qualified, authorize the department to issue a license to practice veterinary medicine. Every license granted must be issued under seal and must be signed by the president and secretary-treasurer of the board and must state that the licensee has given satisfactory evidence of fitness as to age, character, veterinary medical education, and other matters required by law and that after full examination, the licensee has been found qualified to practice[iv].

Pursuant to Mont. Code Anno., § 37-18-306, a person may not practice veterinary medicine in this state without possessing and displaying prominently in the person’s principal office a current and valid license issued under this part.  A person practicing veterinary medicine within this state, as defined in this chapter, without first having obtained a license to practice and being registered as required by this chapter or after the person’s license to practice has been suspended or revoked or contrary to the provisions of this chapter in any manner is guilty of a misdemeanor for each violation of the provisions of this chapter or for each act relating to the practice of veterinary medicine in this state. Upon conviction, the person shall be punished by a fine of not less than $200 or more than $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 30 days or more than 6 months, or both. A person convicted a second time for any violation of this chapter shall be punished by both fine and imprisonment. The district court has jurisdiction of all prosecutions brought under this section[v].

Mont. Code Anno., § 37-18-502 provides that the board or any person may bring an action in the district court to enjoin a person who is not licensed from engaging in the practice of veterinary medicine unless otherwise exempted under 37-18-104(4). If the court finds that the defendant is violating or threatening to violate any provision of Title 37, chapter 18, it shall enter an order restraining the defendant from the violation, without regard to any criminal provisions of Title 37, chapter 18.

Powers of Board – Euthanasia Certification.

Pursuant to Mont. Code Anno., § 37-18-603, the board may:

(1) establish qualifications and prescribe the application format for certification as a certified agency or as a certified euthanasia technician and review each application for compliance with certification requirements;

(2) examine and determine the qualifications and fitness of applicants to operate as a certified agency or as a certified euthanasia technician;

(3) issue, renew, reinstate, deny, suspend, require voluntary surrender of, or revoke any certifications or temporary permits or impose other forms of discipline and enter into consent agreements and negotiated settlements with certified agencies or certified euthanasia technicians consistent with the provisions of this chapter and rules adopted pursuant to Title 37, chapter 1, and this chapter;

(4) establish a schedule of fees for certifying agencies and euthanasia technicians, ensuring that the fees are commensurate with the costs of the certification program;

(5) establish a list of controlled substances approved for the purpose of euthanasia;

(6) adopt other rules that the board or department considers necessary for the implementation of this part; and

(7) inspect any certified agency’s controlled substance storage, inventory, administration procedures, and recordkeeping.

Duties of Certified Agency

Pursuant to Mont. Code Anno., § 37-18-604, a person may not possess controlled substances for the purpose of euthanasia without first becoming a licensed veterinarian or a certified agency under rules adopted by the board. Certified agencies shall apply for registration with the applicable state or federal agency to possess controlled substances approved by the board for purposes of euthanasia. Certified agencies shall comply with all state and federal laws regarding the storage, care, and administration of controlled substances. Failure to comply with these laws may result in the immediate revocation of the certification in addition to any other civil or criminal penalties provided under any other statute. A person may not administer controlled substances for euthanasia purposes unless the person is a licensed veterinarian, a certified euthanasia technician, or support personnel as defined by rules adopted by the board. A certified euthanasia technician may use controlled substances only for euthanasia purposes unless the certified euthanasia technician is under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian[vi].

[i] Mont. Code Anno., § 37-18-102.

[ii] Mont. Code Anno., § 37-18-301.

[iii] Mont. Code Anno., § 37-18-302.

[iv] Mont. Code Anno., § 37-18-305.

[v] Mont. Code Anno., § 37-18-501.

[vi] Mont. Code Anno., § 37-18-605.

Inside Montana Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians