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Texas Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians

The Texas laws on regulation and licensing of veterinarians are found in Tex. Occ. Code §§ 801.001 through 801.509 (a).  Pursuant to the statutes, the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners consists of nine members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate as follows:

(1) six veterinarian members; and

(2) three members who represent the public.

Pursuant to Tex. Occ. Code § 801.051, the board may include not more than one veterinarian member who is a faculty member of a college of veterinary medicine.  Appointments to the board must be made without regard to the race, color, disability, sex, religion, age, or national origin of the appointee.

Powers of the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners

The board may adopt rules as necessary to administer this chapter.  The board may adopt rules of professional conduct appropriate to establish and maintain a high standard of integrity, skills, and practice in the veterinary medicine profession.  The board must adopt rules to:

(1) protect the public; and

(2) ensure that alternate therapies, including ultrasound diagnosis and therapy, magnetic field therapy, holistic medicine, homeopathy, chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, and laser therapy, are performed only by a veterinarian or under the supervision of a veterinarian;

The board may adopt rules regarding the work of a person who:

(1) works under the supervision of a veterinarian; and

(2) fulfills the requirements established by a board-approved organization for registered veterinary technicians[i].

Tex. Occ. Code § 801.154 provides that the board by rule must set fees in amounts that are reasonable and necessary so that the fees, in the aggregate, cover the costs of administering this chapter.  The board may not set a fee that existed on September 1, 1993, in an amount that is less than the fee on that date.  The license renewal fee set by the board under this chapter is the amount set by the board under Subsection (a) and an additional fee of $ 200.  Of each additional fee collected under Subsection (b), $ 50 must be deposited in the foundation school fund and $ 150 must be deposited in the general revenue fund.  The additional fee under Subsection (b) does not apply to a license holder who is:

(1) exempt from paying the renewal fee under Section 801.304; or

(2) placed on inactive status as provided by Section 801.306.

The board must develop and implement a policy to encourage the use of:

(1) negotiated rulemaking procedures under Chapter 2008, Government
Code, for the adoption of board rules; and

(2) appropriate alternative dispute resolution procedures under Chapter 2009, Government Code, to assist in the resolution of internal and external disputes under the board’s jurisdiction.

The board’s procedures relating to alternative dispute resolution must conform, to the extent possible, to any model guidelines issued by the State Office of Administrative Hearings for the use of alternative dispute resolution by state agencies.  The board must designate a trained person to:

(1) coordinate the implementation of the policy adopted under Subsection (a);

(2) serve as a resource for any training needed to implement the procedures for negotiated rulemaking or alternative dispute resolution; and

(3) collect data concerning the effectiveness of those procedures, as implemented by the board[ii].

Licensing of Veterinarians

Pursuant to Tex. Occ. Code § 801.252, the board must issue a license to a person who is qualified to be licensed under this chapter.  A person is qualified to be licensed if:

(1) the person has attained the age of majority;

(2) the person is a graduate of a board-approved school or college of veterinary medicine;

(3) the person successfully completes the licensing examination for veterinarians conducted by the board; and

(4) the board does not refuse to issue a license to the person under Section 801.401.

Furthermore, the board must issue a license to a person who is qualified to be licensed under this chapter.  A person is qualified to be licensed if:

(1) the person has attained the age of majority;

(2) the person is a graduate of a board-approved school or college of veterinary medicine;

(3) the person successfully completes the licensing examination conducted by the board; and

(4) the board does not refuse to issue a license to the person under Section 801.401[iii].

Tex. Occ. Code § 801.253 provides that the board must hold a regular meeting at least twice each year to conduct licensing examinations as provided by board rule.  The board must conduct the examination at a time and place the board determines is convenient for applicants.  The board must provide notice of a licensing examination by publication in a newspaper or periodical.  The board must examine each qualified applicant who attends the examination.  The board must provide for the annual renewal of a license.  The board by rule may adopt a system under which licenses expire on various dates during the year[iv].

Existence of Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship

A person may not practice veterinary medicine unless a veterinarian-client-patient relationship exists.  A veterinarian-client-patient relationship exists if the veterinarian:

(1) assumes responsibility for medical judgments regarding the health of an animal and a client, who is the owner or other caretaker of the animal, agrees to follow the veterinarian’s instructions;

(2) possesses sufficient knowledge of the animal to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the animal’s medical condition; and

(3) is readily available to provide, or has provided, follow-up medical care in the event of an adverse reaction to, or a failure of, the regimen of therapy provided by the veterinarian.

A veterinarian possesses sufficient knowledge of the animal for purposes of Subsection (a)(2) if the veterinarian has recently seen, or is personally acquainted with, the keeping and care of the animal by:

(1) examining the animal; or

(2) making medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises on which the animal is kept.

However, a veterinarian-client-patient relationship may not be established solely by telephone or electronic means[v].

Disciplinary Powers of Board

If an applicant or license holder is subject to denial of a license or to disciplinary action under Section 801.402, the board may:

(1) refuse to examine an applicant or to issue or renew a license;

(2) revoke or suspend a license;

(3) place on probation a license holder or person whose license has been suspended;

(4) reprimand a license holder; or

(5) impose an administrative penalty.

The board may take action under Subsection (a) after notice and hearing under Section 801.407 or as provided by board rule.  The board may require a license holder whose license suspension is probated to:

(1) report regularly to the board on matters that are the basis of the probation;

(2) limit practice to the areas prescribed by the board; or

(3) continue or review continuing professional education until the license holder attains a degree of skill satisfactory to the board in those areas that are the basis of the probation.

In addition to other disciplinary actions authorized by this chapter, the board may require a license holder who violates this chapter to participate in a continuing education program. The board shall specify the continuing education programs that the license holder may attend and the number of hours that the license holder must complete.  A continuing education program specified by the board must be relevant to the violation committed by the license holder[vi].

A person is subject to denial of a license or to disciplinary action under Section 801.401 if the person:

(1) presents to the board dishonest or fraudulent evidence of the person’s qualifications;

(2) commits fraud or deception in the examination process or to obtain a license;

(3) is chronically or habitually intoxicated, chemically dependent, or addicted to drugs;

(4) engages in dishonest or illegal practices in, or connected with, the practice of veterinary medicine or the practice of equine dentistry;

(5) is convicted of a felony under the laws of this state, another state, or the United States;

(6) engages in practices or conduct that violates the board’s rules of professional conduct;

(7) permits another to use the person’s license to practice veterinary medicine or to practice equine dentistry in this state;

(8) fraudulently issues a health certificate, vaccination certificate, test chart, or other form used in the practice of veterinary medicine or the practice of equine dentistry that relates to the presence or absence of animal disease;

(9) issues a false certificate relating to the sale for human consumption of inedible animal products;

(10) commits fraud in connection with the application or reporting of a test of animal disease;

(11) pays or receives a kickback, rebate, bonus, or other remuneration for treating an animal or for referring a client to another provider of veterinary or equine dental services or goods;

(12) performs or prescribes unnecessary or unauthorized treatment;

(13) orders a prescription drug or controlled substance for the treatment of an animal without first establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship;

(14) refuses to admit a board representative to inspect the person’s client and patient records and business premises during regular business hours;

(15) fails to keep the person’s equipment and business premises in a sanitary condition;

(16) commits gross malpractice or a pattern of acts that indicate consistent malpractice, negligence, or incompetence in the practice of veterinary medicine or the practice of equine dentistry;

(17) is subject to disciplinary action in another jurisdiction, including the suspension, probation, or revocation of a license to practice veterinary medicine or to practice equine dentistry issued by another jurisdiction;

The statute further states that an executive committee of the board consisting of the president and two other board members appointed by the president may temporarily suspend the license of a license holder if the executive committee determines from the evidence or information presented to the committee that continued practice by the license holder constitutes a continuing or imminent threat to the public welfare.  A temporary suspension may also be ordered on a majority vote of the board. The board by rule must adopt procedures for the temporary suspension of a license under this section.  A license temporarily suspended under this section may be suspended without notice or hearing if, at the time the suspension is ordered, a hearing on whether disciplinary proceedings under this chapter should be initiated against the license holder is scheduled to be held not later than the 14th day after the date of the suspension. A second hearing on the suspended license shall be held not later than the 60th day after the date the suspension is ordered. If the second hearing is not held in the time required by this subsection, the suspended license is automatically reinstated[viii].

Pursuant to Tex. Occ. Code § 801.451, the board may impose an administrative penalty on a person, including a corporation, organization, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, or other legal entity, who violates this chapter or a rule adopted or order issued under this chapter. The board, through the attorney general or a district or county attorney, may bring an action for an injunction, or a proceeding incident to an injunction, to:

(1) enforce this chapter; or

(2) enjoin a person, including a corporation, organization, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, or other legal entity, from practicing veterinary medicine in violation of this chapter[ix].

A person, including an entity, commits an offense if the person violates this chapter.  An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor[x].

[i] Tex. Occ. Code § 801.151.

[ii] Tex. Occ. Code § 801.162.

[iii] Tex. Occ. Code § 801.252.

[iv] Tex. Occ. Code § 801.301.

[v] Tex. Occ. Code § 801.351.

[vi] Tex. Occ. Code § 801.401.

[vii] Tex. Occ. Code § 801.402.

[viii] Tex. Occ. Code § 801.409.

[ix] Tex. Occ. Code § 801.502.

[x] Tex. Occ. Code § 801.504.


Inside Texas Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians