The Ohio laws on regulation and licensing of veterinarians are found in ORC Ann. 4741.01 through 4741.99. Pursuant to the statutes, there must be a state veterinary medical licensing board consisting of seven members, who have been legal residents of this state for not less than five years, appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate, as follows:
- five members who have been licensed to practice veterinary medicine in this state for not less than five consecutive years prior to their appointment;
- one member who is a registered veterinary technician registered pursuant to this chapter for not less than five consecutive years prior to appointment; and
- one member who is a representative of the public.
The terms of office are for three years, commencing on the first day of January and ending on the thirty-first day of December. Each member must hold office from the date of the member’s appointment until the end of the term for which the member was appointed. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which the predecessor was appointed must hold office for the remainder of such term. Any member must continue in office subsequent to the expiration date of the member’s term until a successor takes office, or until a period of sixty days has elapsed, whichever occurs first. No person who has been appointed a member of the board must be appointed to serve more than three, three-year terms unless a period of three years has elapsed since the termination of the member’s third term, provided that a person appointed to fill an unexpired term may be appointed for three full terms of three years each immediately following such term and that the total length of the member’s service does not exceed ten years. No member of the board must be the owner of any interest in, or be employed by any wholesale or jobbing house dealing in supplies, equipment, or instruments used or useful in the practice of veterinary medicine[i].
A veterinary-client-patient relationship serves as the basis for interaction between veterinarians, their clients, and their patients. A veterinary-client-patient relationship exists when all of the following conditions have been met:
- A veterinarian assumes responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of a patient and the need for medical treatment, medical services, or both for the patient, and the client has agreed to follow the veterinarian’s instructions regarding the patient.
- The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the patient to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the patient. In order to demonstrate that the veterinarian has sufficient knowledge, the veterinarian shall have seen the patient recently and also shall be acquainted personally with the keeping and care of the patient either by examining the patient or by making medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the patient is kept.
- The veterinarian is readily available for a follow-up evaluation, or has arranged for emergency coverage, in the event the patient suffers adverse reactions to the treatment regimen or the treatment regimen fails.
Licensing of Veterinarians
In Ohio, a person desiring to take a nationally recognized examination approved by the state veterinary medical licensing board in accordance with the rules adopted by the board for a license to practice veterinary medicine must deliver to the executive director of the board a written application for admission to the examination that meets the requirements that the board establishes by rule. An applicant must be more than eighteen years of age, be of good moral character, and have graduated from a veterinary college or school approved by the board. A student who has completed or is enrolled in good academic standing in the fourth academic year or in the final clinical year at a veterinary college approved by the board may apply to the executive director to take a nationally recognized examination the board approves in rule and any other examination the board requires by rule for a license to practice veterinary medicine. In addition to the information required to be submitted under division (A) of this section, the applicant must submit a letter from the dean or the dean’s designee of the veterinary college in which the applicant is a student in good academic standing and that meets the requirements of this division. If the board finds that the applicant possesses the qualifications necessary for admission, meets the requirements of this chapter, the rules of the board, and is not in violation of this chapter or any other applicable provision of the Revised Code which would preclude acceptance by the board, the board must admit the applicant to the examination[iii].
However, a license to practice veterinary medicine issued by the state veterinary medical licensing board pursuant to sections 4741.11 to 4741.13 of the Revised Code expires biennially on the first day of March in even-numbered years. A limited license to practice veterinary medicine issued by the board pursuant to those sections expires biennially on the first day of July. A license or limited license may be renewed in accordance with the standard renewal procedures contained in Chapter 4745. of the Revised Code upon payment of the required renewal fee and fulfillment of the continuing education requirements contained in division (B) of this section unless otherwise provided by law. The board shall issue a duplicate certificate to any holder upon request and upon due proof of loss of the original.
Furthermore, as a condition precedent to each renewal of a license or limited license, a licensed veterinarian shall demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the board, that the licensed veterinarian has completed thirty hours of continuing education during the two years immediately preceding renewal of the licensed veterinarian’s license or limited license that meets the requirements established by rule of the board as to form and content. board may waive the requirement of division (B) of this section if the licensee submits an affidavit evidencing that the licensee was prevented from attending an approved educational program during a year because of the occurrence of an unusual and prolonged emergency, provided the licensee otherwise complies with such requirements as the board determines. Educational program requirements not completed during the biennial license period, due to a waiver granted by the board under division (C) of this section, are cumulative on the requirements for the succeeding biennial license period. license or limited license which is not renewed at the end of the biennium becomes an inactive license or limited license. A licensee may reactivate an inactive license or limited license upon application to the board. The board shall prescribe continuing education and other requirements as it considers necessary to reactivate a license or limited license. Any license or limited license which has been inactive for more than four years expires if the licensee has not applied for reactivation of the license or limited license. Upon expiration, a license or limited license becomes void. Division (E) of this section does not apply to any veterinarian who serves solely in a professional capacity with any federal, state, or local government agency or with any branch of the armed forces of the United States.
The statute further provides that no person should sell or fraudulently obtain or furnish a license or a temporary permit or abet therein. No person should practice veterinary medicine in the state under cover of any license or temporary permit fraudulently obtained or signed or issued unlawfully or under fraudulent representation or issued through an error of the state veterinary medical licensing board[v].
Discipline of Veterinarians
The state veterinary medical licensing board may refuse to issue or renew a license, limited license, registration, or temporary permit to or of any applicant who, and may issue a reprimand to, suspend or revoke the license, limited license, registration, or the temporary permit of, or impose a civil penalty pursuant to this section upon any person holding a license, limited license, or temporary permit to practice veterinary medicine or any person registered as a registered veterinary technician who:
(A) In the conduct of the person’s practice does not conform to the rules of the board or the standards of the profession governing proper, humane, sanitary, and hygienic methods to be used in the care and treatment of animals;
(B) Uses fraud, misrepresentation, or deception in any application or examination for licensure, or any other documentation created in the course of practicing veterinary medicine;
(C) Is found to be physically or psychologically addicted to alcohol or an illegal or controlled substance, as defined in section 3719.01 of the Revised Code, to such a degree as to render the person unfit to practice veterinary medicine;
(D) Directly or indirectly employs or lends the person’s services to a solicitor for the purpose of obtaining patients;
(E) Obtains a fee on the assurance that an incurable disease can be cured;
(F) Advertises in a manner that violates section 4741.21 of the Revised Code;
(G) Divides fees or charges or has any arrangement to share fees or charges with any other person, except on the basis of services performed;
(H) Sells any biologic containing living, dead, or sensitized organisms or products of those organisms, except in a manner that the board by rule has prescribed;
(I) Is convicted of or pleads guilty to any felony or crime involving illegal or prescription drugs, or fails to report to the board within sixty days of the individual’s conviction of, plea of guilty to, or treatment in lieu of conviction involving a felony, misdemeanor of the first degree, or offense involving illegal or prescription drugs;
(J) Is convicted of any violation of section 959.13 of the Revised Code;
(K) Swears falsely in any affidavit required to be made by the person in the course of the practice of veterinary medicine;
(L) Fails to report promptly to the proper official any known reportable disease;
(M) Fails to report promptly vaccinations or the results of tests when required to do so by law or rule;
(N) Has been adjudicated incompetent for the purpose of holding the license or permit by a court, as provided in Chapter 2111. of the Revised Code, and has not been restored to legal capacity for that purpose;
(O) Permits a person who is not a licensed veterinarian, a veterinary student, or a registered veterinary technician to engage in work or perform duties in violation of this chapter;
(P) Is guilty of gross incompetence or gross negligence;
(Q) Has had a license to practice veterinary medicine or a license, registration, or certificate to engage in activities as a registered veterinary technician revoked, suspended, or acted against by disciplinary action by an agency similar to this board of another state, territory, or country or the District of Columbia;
(R) Is or has practiced with a revoked, suspended, inactive, expired, or terminated license or registration;
(S) Represents self as a specialist unless certified as a specialist by the board;
(T) In the person’s capacity as a veterinarian or registered veterinary technician makes or files a report, health certificate, vaccination certificate, or other document that the person knows is false or negligently or intentionally fails to file a report or record required by any applicable state or federal law;
(U) Fails to use reasonable care in the administration of drugs or acceptable scientific methods in the selection of those drugs or other modalities for treatment of a disease or in conduct of surgery;
(V) Makes available a dangerous drug, as defined in section 4729.01 of the Revised Code, to any person other than for the specific treatment of an animal patient;
(W) Refuses to permit a board investigator or the board’s designee to inspect the person’s business premises during regular business hours, except as provided in division (A) of section 4741.26 of the Revised Code;
(X) Violates any order of the board or fails to comply with a subpoena of the board;
(Y) Fails to maintain medical records as required by rule of the board;
(Z) Engages in cruelty to animals;
AA) Uses, prescribes, or sells any veterinary prescription drug or biologic, or prescribes any extra-label use of any over-the-counter drug or dangerous drug in the absence of a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship.
Furthermore, before the board may revoke, deny, refuse to renew, or suspend a license, registration, before the board may revoke, deny, refuse to renew, or suspend a license, registration, or temporary permit or otherwise discipline the holder of a license, registration, or temporary permit, the executive director shall file written charges with the board. The board shall conduct a hearing on the charges as provided in Chapter 119. of the Revised Code. If the board, after a hearing conducted pursuant to Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, revokes, refuses to renew, or suspends a license, registration, or temporary permit for a violation of this section, section 4741.23, division (C) or (D) of section 4741.19, or division (B), (C), or (D) of section 4741.21 of the Revised Code, the board may impose a civil penalty upon the holder of the license, permit, or registration of not less than one hundred dollars or more than one thousand dollars. In addition to the civil penalty and any other penalties imposed pursuant to this chapter, the board may assess any holder of a license, permit, or registration the costs of the hearing conducted under this section if the board determines that the holder has violated any provision for which the board may impose a civil penalty under this section.
The Ohio statutes further provide that except as provided in division (B) of this section, any person whose license, registration, or temporary permit is suspended or revoked may, at the discretion of the state veterinary medical licensing board, be relicensed or reregistered to practice at any time without an examination, on application made to the board. The application for reinstatement must be in writing, in a form prescribed by the board, signed by the applicant, and must be delivered to the executive director of the board. Any person whose license, registration, or temporary permit has been revoked for a violation of section 4741.18, 4741.22, or 4741.23 or division (A), (C), or (D) of section 4741.19, division (A) of section 4741.20, or division (B) or (D) of section 4741.21 of the Revised Code, must be permanently barred from practicing veterinary medicine or holding a license to practice veterinary medicine or holding a registration as a registered veterinary technician in this state for a subsequent violation of any of such provisions. The board must, by certified mail, notify all other state veterinary licensing boards of permanent revocation actions. Any person whose license or temporary permit to practice veterinary medicine is suspended or revoked is an unlicensed person[vii].
Pursuant to ORC Ann. 4741.26, the state veterinary medical licensing board shall enforce this chapter and for that purpose shall make investigations relative thereto. Except as provided in this division, in making any inspection pursuant to this chapter, the board may enter and inspect, upon written notice of not less than five days and during normal business hours, any licensee’s, permit holder’s, or registrant’s place of business. If the board has knowledge or notice, pursuant to a written complaint or any other written knowledge or notice by any person as verified by the signature of that person, of a violation of section 4741.18, 4741.19, or 4741.23 of the Revised Code, it shall investigate and, upon probable cause appearing, shall direct the executive director to file a complaint and institute the prosecution of the offender. In addition to any other remedy the board may have pursuant to law, if the board determines that any person is practicing veterinary medicine without a license issued pursuant to this chapter or is otherwise in violation of this chapter, the board may, through its executive director, apply to a court having jurisdiction in the county in which the offense occurred, for an injunction or restraining order to enjoin or restrain the person from further violations of this chapter. The attorney general shall serve as the board’s legal agent in the action.
[i] ORC Ann. 4741.02.
[ii] ORC Ann. 4741.04.
[iii] ORC Ann. 4741.11.
[iv] ORC Ann. 4741.16.
[v] ORC Ann. 4741.18.
[vi] ORC Ann. 4741.22.
[vii] ORC Ann. 4741.24.