The Washington laws on regulation and licensing of veterinarians are found in Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) §§ 18.92.010 through 18.92.900. Pursuant to the statutes, any person will be regarded as practicing veterinary medicine, surgery and dentistry within the meaning of this chapter who must, within this state:
(1) by advertisement, or by any notice, sign, or other indication, or by a statement written, printed or oral, in public or private, made, done, or procured by himself or herself, or any other, at his or her request, for him or her, represent, claim, announce, make known or pretend his or her ability or willingness to diagnose or prognose or treat diseases, deformities, defects, wounds, or injuries of animals;
(2) or who will so advertise, make known, represent or claim his or her ability and willingness to prescribe or administer any drug, medicine, treatment, method or practice, or to perform any operation, manipulation, or apply any apparatus or appliance for cure, amelioration, correction or reduction or modification of any animal disease, deformity, defect, wound or injury, for hire, fee, compensation, or reward, promised, offered, expected, received, or accepted directly or indirectly;
(3) or who will within the state diagnose or prognose any animal diseases, deformities, defects, wounds or injuries, for hire, fee, reward, or compensation promised, offered, expected, received, or accepted directly or indirectly;
(4) or who will within the state prescribe or administer any drug, medicine, treatment, method or practice, or perform any operation, or manipulation, or apply any apparatus or appliance for the cure, amelioration, alleviation, correction, or modification of any animal disease, deformity, defect, wound, or injury, for hire, fee, compensation, or reward, promised, offered, expected, received or accepted directly or indirectly;
(5) or who performs any manual procedure for the diagnosis of pregnancy, sterility, or infertility upon livestock;
(6) or who implants any electronic device for the purpose of establishing or maintaining positive identification of animals.
However, the opening of an office or place of business for the practice of veterinary medicine, the use of a sign, card, device or advertisement as a practitioner of veterinary medicine or as a person skilled in such practice must be prima facie evidence of engaging in the practice of veterinary medicine, surgery and dentistry[i].
Pursuant to Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 18.92.021, there is created a Washington state veterinary board of governors consisting of seven members, five of whom shall be licensed veterinarians, one of whom shall be a licensed veterinary technician trained in both large and small animal medicine, and one of whom shall be a lay member.
The licensed members shall be appointed by the governor. At the time of their appointment the licensed members of the board must be actual residents of the state in active practice as licensed practitioners of veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry, or employed as a licensed veterinary technician, as applicable, and must be citizens of the United States. Not more than one licensed veterinary member shall be from the same congressional district. The board shall not be deemed to be unlawfully constituted and a member of the board shall not be deemed ineligible to serve the remainder of the member’s unexpired term on the board solely by reason of the establishment of new or revised boundaries for congressional districts.
General Duties of Board
The board can develop and administer, or approve, or both, a licensure examination in the subjects determined by the board to be essential to the practice of veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry. The board may approve an examination prepared or administered by a private testing agency or association of licensing authorities. The board, under chapter 34.05 RCW, may adopt rules necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter, including:
- Standards for the performance of the duties and responsibilities of veterinary technicians and veterinary medication clerks and fixing minimum standards of continuing education for veterinary technicians. The rules shall be adopted in the interest of good veterinary health care delivery to the consuming public and shall not prevent veterinary technicians from inoculating an animal; and
- Standards prescribing requirements for veterinary medical facilities and fixing minimum standards of continuing veterinary medical education.
Licensing of Veterinarians
Furthermore, Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 18.92.070 provides that no person, unless registered or licensed to practice veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry in this state at the time this chapter shall become operative, shall begin the practice of veterinary medicine, surgery and dentistry without first applying for and obtaining a license for such purpose from the secretary. In order to procure a license to practice veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry in the state of Washington, the applicant for such license shall file his or her application at least sixty days prior to date of examination upon a form furnished by the secretary of health, which, in addition to the fee provided by this chapter, shall be accompanied by satisfactory evidence that he or she is at least eighteen years of age and of good moral character, and by official transcripts or other evidence of graduation from a veterinary college satisfactory to and approved by the board. Said application shall be signed by the applicant and sworn to by him or her before some person authorized to administer oaths. When such application and the accompanying evidence are found satisfactory, the secretary shall notify the applicant to appear before the board for the next examination. In addition, applicants shall be subject to grounds for denial or issuance of a conditional license under chapter 18.130 RCW. Nothing in this chapter shall preclude the board from permitting a person who has completed a portion of his or her educational program as determined by the board, in a veterinary college recognized by the board, to take the examination or any part thereof prior to satisfying the requirements for application for a license: PROVIDED HOWEVER, That no license shall be issued to such applicant until such requirements are satisfied.
The statute further provides that any person who will make application for examination, as provided by RCW 18.92.070, and who has not previously failed to pass the veterinary examination, and whose application is found satisfactory by the secretary, may be given a temporary certificate to practice veterinary medicine, surgery and dentistry valid only until the results of the next examination for licenses are available. In addition, applicants shall be subject to the grounds for denial or issuance of a conditional license under chapter 18.130 RCW. No more than one temporary certificate may be issued to any applicant. Such permittee will be employed by a licensed veterinary practitioner or by the state of Washington[iii].
Moreover, each person now qualified to practice veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry, licensed as a veterinary technician, or registered as a veterinary medication clerk in this state or who becomes licensed or registered to engage in practice must comply with administrative procedures, administrative requirements, and fees shall be established as provided in RCW 43.70.250 and 43.70.280 for the issuance, renewal, or administration of the following licenses, certificates of registration, permits, duplicate licenses, renewals, or examination:
(1) For a license to practice veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry issued upon an examination given by the examining board;
(2) For a license to practice veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry issued upon the basis of a license issued in another state;
(3) For a license as a veterinary technician;
(4) For a certificate of registration as a veterinary medication clerk;
(5) For a temporary permit to practice veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry. The temporary permit fee shall be accompanied by the full amount of the examination fee; and
(6) For a license to practice specialized veterinary medicine.
Discipline of Veterinarians
In Washington, the uniform disciplinary act, chapter 18.130 RCW, governs unlicensed practice, the issuance and denial of licenses, and the discipline of licensees[v]. Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 18.92.240 provides that violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, or of any rule or regulation made pursuant thereto, shall constitute a misdemeanor and punishable by fine of not less than fifty dollars.
[i] Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 18.92.010.
[ii] Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 18.92.030.
[iii] Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 18.92.120.
[iv] Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 18.92.140.
[v] Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 18.92.046.