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Virginia Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians

The Virginia laws on regulation and licensing of veterinarians are found in Va. Code Ann. §§ 54.1-3800 through 54.1-3813.  Pursuant to the statutes, any person must be regarded as practicing veterinary medicine within the meaning of this chapter who represents himself or herself, directly or indirectly, publicly or privately, as a veterinary doctor or uses any title, words, abbreviation or letters in a manner or under circumstances which may reasonably induce the belief that the person using them is qualified to practice veterinary medicine.

Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-3800 provides that any person will be deemed to be practicing veterinary medicine who performs the diagnosis, treatment, correction, change, relief or prevention of animal disease, deformity, defect, injury, or other physical or mental conditions; including the performance of surgery or dentistry, the prescription or administration of any drug, medicine, biologic, apparatus, application, anesthetic, or other therapeutic or diagnostic substance or technique, and the use of any manual or mechanical procedure for embryo transfer, for testing for pregnancy, or for correcting sterility or infertility, or to render advice or recommendation with regard to any of the above.

The Board of Veterinary Medicine consists of seven members.  The Board meets at least once annually at such times and places as it may prescribe.  Special meetings may be held upon the call of the president and any three members.  Four members of the Board will constitute a quorum[i].

Powers of the Virginia State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners

Pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-3804, in addition to the powers granted in § 54.1-2400, the Board have the following specific powers and duties:

1. To establish essential requirements and standards for approval of veterinary programs.

2. To establish and monitor programs for the practical training of qualified students of veterinary medicine or veterinary technology in college or university programs of veterinary medicine or veterinary technology.

3. To regulate, inspect, and register all establishments and premises where veterinary medicine is practiced.

Licensing of Veterinarians

Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-3805 provides that no person can practice veterinary medicine or as a veterinary technician in this Commonwealth unless such person has been licensed by the Board. The Board may license a veterinary technician to perform acts relating to the treatment or the maintenance of the health of any animal under the immediate and direct supervision of a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the Commonwealth or a veterinarian who is employed by the United States or the Commonwealth while actually engaged in the performance of his official duties. No person licensed as a veterinary technician may perform surgery, diagnose, or prescribe medication for any animal.

The Board may refuse to grant or to renew, may suspend or revoke any license to practice veterinary medicine or to practice as a veterinary technician or registration to practice as an equine dental technician if such applicant or holder:

1. Is convicted of any felony or of any misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;

2. Employs or permits any person who does not hold a license to practice veterinary medicine or to practice as a licensed veterinary technician or registration to practice as an equine dental technician to perform work which can lawfully be performed only by a person holding the appropriate license or registration;

3. Willfully violates any provision of this chapter or any regulation of the Board;

4. Has violated any federal or state law relating to controlled substances as defined in Chapter 34 (§ 54.1-3400 et seq.);

5. Is guilty of unprofessional conduct as defined by regulations of the Board;

6. Uses alcohol or drugs to the extent such use renders him unsafe to practice or suffers from any mental or physical condition rendering him unsafe to practice; or

7. Has had his license to practice veterinary medicine or as a veterinary technician or his registration to practice as an equine dental technician in any other state revoked or suspended for any reason other than nonrenewal.

Discipline of Veterinarians

Any violation of a provision of the statutes will be a Class 1 misdemeanor.  Each day of violation will constitute a separate offense[iv].

[i] Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-3802.

[ii] Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-3806.

[iii] Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-3807.

[iv] Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-3809.


Inside Virginia Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians