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Wisconsin Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians

The Wisconsin laws on regulation and licensing of veterinarians are found in Wis. Stat. §§ 453.02 through 453.08.  Pursuant to the statutes, the examining board can promulgate rules, within the limits of the definition under s. 453.02 (6), establishing the scope of practice permitted for veterinarians and veterinary technicians and may review the rules at least once every 5 years to determine whether they are consistent with current practice.

Powers of the Wisconsin State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners

The examining board may promulgate rules relating to licensure qualifications, denial of a license, certificate or temporary permit, unprofessional conduct and disciplinary proceedings.  Moreover, the examining board can promulgate rules requiring training and continuing education sufficient to assure competency of veterinarians and veterinary technicians in the practice of veterinary medicine, except that the board may not require training or continuing education concerning the use, handling, distribution, and disposal of pesticides other than for disciplinary purposes[i].

Furthermore, the chairperson of the examining board can institute actions for violations of this chapter by any person and for violations of ch. 450 or 961 by veterinarians.  The district attorney of the county in which the offense is committed can promptly prosecute any such violation upon being informed thereof, from any source[ii].

Discipline of Veterinarians

No person may offer to practice, advertise to practice or practice veterinary medicine, or use, in connection with his or her name, any title or description which may convey the impression that he or she is a veterinarian, without a license or temporary permit from the examining board, except as provided under sub. (2) and s. 257.03.  A person who makes extra-label use of a drug on an animal without a prescription or in any manner not authorized by that prescription is considered to be practicing veterinary medicine.  However, no veterinary license or temporary permit is required for the following activities or persons:

(a) Artificial insemination, or for continuing the practice of pregnancy examinations of animals when such practice was engaged in prior to February 11, 1968.

(b) Castrating male livestock, as defined in s. 95.68 (1) (d) or for dehorning or branding animals.

(c) Students at a veterinary college approved by the examining board.

(d) Certified veterinary technicians while working under the direct supervision of a veterinarian.

(e) Employees of the federal government while engaged in their official duties.

(f) Employees of an educational or research institution while engaged in teaching or research.  This is not applicable to employees of a school of veterinary medicine in this state who practice veterinary medicine on privately owned animals.

(g) Employees of a school of veterinary medicine in this state who practice veterinary medicine on privately owned animals only as a part of their employment and who are licensed under s. 453.06 (2m) (h) Graduates of schools outside the United States and Canada who are enrolled in the educational commission for foreign veterinary graduates certification program of the American Veterinary Medical Association while completing the required year of clinical assessment under the supervision of a veterinarian.  Any person violating this section may for the first offense be fined not more than 1,000, and for any 2nd offense within 3 years be fined not more than 3,000[iii].

Pursuant to the statute, “unprofessional conduct” includes, but is not limited to:

  • Making any materially false statement or giving any materially false information in connection with an application for a license or for renewal or reinstatement of a license or in making a report to the examining board.
  • Violating this chapter or ch. 440 or any federal or state statute or rule which substantially relates to the practice of veterinary medicine.
  • Practicing veterinary medicine while the persons ability to practice is impaired by alcohol or other drugs or physical or mental disability or disease.
  • Engaging in false, misleading or deceptive advertising.
  • Making a substantial misrepresentation in the course of practice which is relied upon by a client.
  • Engaging in conduct in the practice of veterinary medicine which evidences a lack of knowledge or ability to apply professional principles or skills.
  • Handling, distributing, using or disposing of pesticides in violation of ss. 94.67 to 94.71 or the rules promulgated under ss. 94.67 to 94.71 (g) Obtaining or attempting to obtain compensation by fraud or deceit.
  • Violating any order of the examining board.

Pursuant to the statutes, subject to subch. II of ch. 111 and the rules adopted under s. 440.03 (1), the examining board may, by order, reprimand any person holding a license, certificate or permit under this chapter or deny, revoke, suspend, limit or any combination thereof, the persons license, certificate or permit if the person has:

  • Engaged in unprofessional conduct.
  • Been adjudicated mentally incompetent by a court.
  • Been found guilty of an offense the circumstances of which substantially relate to the practice of veterinary medicine.

Moreover, in addition to or in lieu of a reprimand or denial, limitation, suspension or revocation of a license, certificate or permit under sub. (2), the examining board may assess against the applicant for or the holder of the license, certificate or permit a forfeiture of not more than 5,000 for each violation of s. 453.068[iv].

Licensing of Veterinarians

Wis. Stat. § 453.072 provides that upon application and payment of the fee specified in s. 440.05 (2), the examining board may issue a license to practice veterinary medicine to any person licensed to practice veterinary medicine in another state or territory of the United States or in another country.  The applicant must:

  • not be currently under investigation and never have been disciplined by the licensing authority in the other state, territory or country,
  • not have been found guilty of a crime the circumstances of which are substantially related to the practice of veterinary medicine,
  • not be currently a party in pending litigation in which it is alleged that the applicant is liable for damages for acts committed in the course of practice and has never been found liable for damages for acts committed in the course of practice which evidenced a lack of ability or fitness to practice.

The statute further provides that upon application and payment of the fee specified in s. 440.05 (6), the examining board may issue a temporary consulting permit to practice veterinary medicine in this state for up to 60 days per year to any nonresident licensed to practice veterinary medicine in another state or territory of the United States or in another country.

The examining board, the attorney general, or the district attorney of the proper county may investigate and may, in addition to any other remedies, bring an action in the name and on behalf of the state against a person to enjoin the person from practice, if it appears upon complaint to the examining board by any person, or if it is known to the examining board, that the person is practicing veterinary medicine without a license,[v].

[i] Wis. Stat. § 453.03.

[ii] Wis. Stat. § 453.04.

[iii] Wis. Stat. § 453.05.

[iv] Wis. Stat. § 453.07.

[v] Wis. Stat. § 453.08.


Inside Wisconsin Laws on Regulation and Licensing of Veterinarians