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New York Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians

Under New York law, provisions relating to regulation of veterinarians are provided under NY CLS Educ § 6700 through NY CLS Educ § 6714.

The practice of the profession of veterinary medicine is defined as diagnosing, treating, operating, or prescribing for any animal disease, pain, injury, deformity or physical condition, or the subcutaneous insertion of a microchip intended to be used to identify an animal.  Animal includes every living creature except a human being[i].

Only a person licensed or exempt under this article shall practice veterinary medicine or use the title “veterinarian”.[ii]

State Board for Veterinary Medicine

The state board for veterinary medicine is entrusted with the professional licensing and professional conduct of veterinarians.  The board is composed of not less than seven licensed veterinarians and not more than two licensed veterinary technicians.  The participation of the licensed veterinary technicians shall be limited to issues concerning the licensure of veterinary technology[iii].

Every person desiring to practice veterinary medicine in New York must file an application with the department, accompanied by valid proof of education, including a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine, in accordance with the commissioner’s regulations and experience satisfactory to the board.  The applicant must pass an examination for licensure.  The applicant must be at least twenty-one years of age and of good moral character.  In addition, s/he must be a U.S. citizen or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the U.S.  However, a one-time three-year waiver for a veterinarian who otherwise meets the requirements of this article and who has accepted an offer to practice veterinary medicine in a county in the state which the department has certified as having a shortage of qualified applicants to fill existing vacancies in veterinary medicine.  Moreover, the board of regents may grant an extension of such three-year waiver of not more than one year.  The applicant has to pay a fee of 260 dollars for admission to a department conducted examination and for an initial license, a fee of 135 dollars for each reexamination, a fee of 130 dollars for an initial license for persons not requiring admission to a department conducted examination, and a fee of 210 dollars for each triennial registration period[iv].

NY CLS Educ § 6705 enumerates the following persons to be exempted from the requirement for license:

  • Any commissioned veterinary medical officer serving in the United States armed forces or in the United States Agricultural Research
    Service while so commissioned, provided such practice is limited to such service;
  • Any person rendering gratuitous services in cases of emergency;
  • Any veterinarian who is licensed in another state or country and who is meeting a veterinarian licensed in this state for purposes of consultation provided such practice is limited to such consultation;
  • Any veterinarian who is licensed in a bordering state and who resides near a border of this state, provided such practice is limited in this state to the vicinity of such border and provided such veterinarian does not maintain an office or place to meet patients or
    receive calls within this state;;
  • Any intern or resident who practices veterinary medicine in any college in this state offering a program in veterinary medicine registered by the department, and who is a graduate of a school of veterinary medicine accredited in any state or country, provided such
    practice is limited to such duties as intern or resident and is under the supervision of a licensed or otherwise authorized veterinarian.
  • Any faculty member who is a graduate of a school of veterinary medicine accredited in any state or country and whose practice of
    veterinary medicine is incidental to his or her course of instruction while serving as a faculty member in a veterinary college offering a
    program registered by the department;
  • Any student who engages in clinical practice under supervision of a licensed or otherwise authorized veterinarian in a school of veterinary medicine in this state registered by the department.
  • Any dentist duly licensed in this state who provides dental care to an animal at the request and under the immediate personal supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
  • Any student enrolled and in good standing in a school of veterinary medicine, who practices under the general supervision of a licensed veterinarian.  However, such students must have completed at least two and one-half years in an approved veterinary program and completed all core didactic training may assist in diagnosis, treatment and surgery in such practice, subject to some specific requirements.
  • Any employee of a not-for-profit pound, shelter, duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, humane society or dog or cat protective association may insert a microchip for the purposes of identification of any animal being held for adoption by such organization.
  • A veterinary graduate of an approved program engaging in clinical practice under the supervision, but not necessarily direct personal
    supervision, of a licensed veterinarian, provided the graduate has passed the required state licensing examination and applied and paid a
    fee for the licensing. This exemption shall not extend beyond sixty days after graduation.
  • A physician duly licensed to practice medicine in New York, who is board certified in an area of human medicine equivalent to the required veterinary specialty in cases in which a veterinary specialist in the area of medicine required for such animal’s care does not exist, is not available, or cannot be procured in a timely fashion.  It is to be noted that this subsection expires and shall be repealed on Jan 1, 2011[v].

A licensed veterinarian is liable for damages for injuries or death caused by an act or omission while rendering professional services in the normal and ordinary course of his/her business.  However, a licensed veterinarian will not be liable for the death or injury of an animal if such person renders first aid or emergency treatment at the scene of an accident or other emergency, outside of an animal hospital voluntarily, and without the expectation of monetary compensation[vi].

NY CLS Educ § 6706 provides that no business corporation, other than a professional service corporation organized under the business corporation law, shall be organized for the practice of veterinary medicine.

New York law also provides for limited permit to veterinarians.  The following persons are eligible for a limited permit:

  • A person who fulfills all requirements for a license except those relating to the examination and citizenship or permanent residence in the U.S.;
  • A foreign veterinarian who is in the U.S. on a nonimmigration visa for the continuation of veterinary medical study in a college of veterinary medicine.

A limited permit holder will be authorized to practice only under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian and a licensed veterinarian has to supervise only one limited permit holder.  A limited permit is valid for one year or until the individual has had the opportunity to take the state veterinarian licensing examination, whichever shall occur first.  It may be renewed once at the discretion of the department if the permit holder has not had a reasonable opportunity to take the licensing examination during the concerned period.  A limited permit may also be issued or extended for not more than one year to afford the permit holder a second opportunity to successfully complete such examination if such applicant failed to qualify in one of the practical subjects.  A limited permit issued to a foreign veterinarian is valid for one year, and may be renewed at the discretion of the department so long as the permit holder is a bona fide student at a college of veterinary medicine, in New York.  The fee for each limited permit and for each renewal shall be 105 dollars[vii].

[i] NY CLS Educ § 6701.

[ii] NY CLS Educ § 6702.

[iii] NY CLS Educ § 6703.

[iv] NY CLS Educ § 6704.

[v] NY CLS Educ § 6705.

[vi] NY CLS Educ § 6705-a.

[vii] NY CLS Educ § 6707.

Inside New York Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians