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Laws Governing


Laws Governing Veterinary Medicine – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Laws Governing

Laws Governing Veterinary Medicine
  • Laws represent the required standards for the
    practice of veterinary medicine.
  • There are two major organizations that provide
    additional recommendations for additional
    standards these standards are voluntary.
  • American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
  • A national organization that represents the
    individual veterinarian
  • Provides representation of professional interests
    to various legislative bodies
  • Provides policies and guidelines to the
  • Provides continuing education
  • Accredits colleges of veterinary medicine and
    schools for veterinary technicians

2. American Animal Hospital Association
(AAHA) Sets standards for veterinary
hospitals Any veterinary hospital
displaying the AAHA logo must meet and adhere
to the organizations membership
requirements Member hospitals are subject to
periodic inspections Standards are
wide-ranging examination facilities,
pharmacy, anesthesia, surgery, housekeeping
Not all hospitals meet the standards set forth by
the AAHA
  • Common Law
  • Common law is based on legal precedents.
  • Animals are considered property just as your
    car or a house.
  • Owners have rights associated with their property
    (pets/animals) especially while in the custody
    of the veterinarian.

Liability A legal responsibility Concerns
injuries or losses to an owner while on the
veterinary premises - either to themselves or
their pets Malpractice (mal
bad) substandard practice willful,
negligent or ignorant Negligence failure to
do what should be done An owner has a right to
damages as a result of actions that cause a
decrease in value, injury or death to a pet
  • Contract Law
  • Governs the relationship between the veterinarian
    and the client
  • Expressed written or oral
  • Implied based on assumption
  • Breach occurs when any party fails to fulfill
    his or her responsibilities
  • Led to consent forms
  • Estimated cost for services

Procedures for the veterinary assistant NEVER
make any guarantee minimize the risks
permit owners to restrain their own
pets allow an unsafe facility condition to
persist provide information to anyone on any
subject that on which you are not well
ALWAYS Document all conversations with the
owner in the patient record (includes
telephone conversations) Be certain all
consent forms are reviewed and signed by
owner before rendering service keep them in the
patient record. Use estimate forms
before rendering services Keep all doors
closed and windows securely screened Provide
leashes and carriers in the reception area for
owners who do not use them Provide
adequate restraint of all animals within the
hospital Keep animals separate Use
identification collars on all patients/kennels
Know the law and conform to it
Federal Law Federal law always override state
laws federal laws state policy and penalty
while the individual state implements and
enforces the law. Federal legislation for
animals began in the late 1880s with the
anti-cruelty movement. Anti-cruelty laws now
exist in all states although they are not
standardized. Examples Interstate and
international movement of
animals Permissible drug residues in food
animals Animal Welfare Act Marine
mammals protection in handling, transport and
care Public and animal health is
protected through meat and milk
Reporting of foreign animal diseases
Implementation of animal disease eradication
programs There are also laws that affect the
practice of veterinary medicine such as The
Fair Labor Standards Act covers child labor
OSHA governs workplace safety Americans with
Disability Act mandates reasonable
accommodations for those with disabilities
The Food and Drug Administration specifies the
manufacturing standards and the
distribution of food additives and drugs
for animals.
State Laws State laws are not standardized
they reflect the needs of the region they govern.
They also change over time as needs change.
STATE PRACTICE ACT specific to each state
governs the practice of veterinary
medicine Goal Consumer protection
Governed by The State Board of Veterinary
Medicine in each state
The ACT usually defines What veterinary
medicine is Who can practice veterinary
medicine When a person who is practicing
veterinary medicine The minimum standards
for the practice of veterinary medicine
Standards for veterinary facilities The Board
determines the Penalties for
violations Administration of veterinary
licenses and examinations Licensing of
veterinary premises Rules for conduct of the
business of the veterinary board
Generally a veterinarian can only practice in the
state in which he/she is licensed. The exception
to this rule is when the veterinarian is serving
in a consultative capacity across state
boarders. The AVMA has publishes Model
Veterinary Practice Act and Model Practice Act
for Veterinary Technicians these serve as
guidelines for the development for the individual
State Practice Acts. A veterinarian is given
the rights to diagnose prognose
prescribe perform surgery - violation of
this represents the practice of veterinary
medicine without a license it is
The veterinary staff is permitted with the
supervision and in compliance with other laws, to
provide supplementary care. It is up to the
veterinarian to determine the competence of the
staff member. It is also up to the veterinarian
to provide for the level supervision of necessary
to complete the task (correctly). Not all states
require licensure for veterinary technicians,
however where a license is required, the
technician is usually permitted to perform the
following tasks under immediate supervision of
the veterinarian
induce anesthesia perform dental
extractions that do not entail a surgical
procedure such as sectioning a tooth or
incising tissue. Provide surgical assistance
to the veterinarian as permitted by state
law Direct Supervision is required for the
following tasks perform euthanasia
Collect or administer blood Apply splints or
Clean, polish and float teeth Indirect
supervision is required for the following tasks
Place intravenous catheters and begin
intravenous administration of fluids
Administer medications, including the giving
of injections except where prohibited by
law Collect urine, fecal and blood
samples Perform skin scrapings
conduct routine laboratory procedures
provide first aid to an animal in an
emergency Remember!! The veterinary assistant
is there to assist the veterinarian and/or the
technician. The level of supervision is higher
for the assistant.
LOCAL LAWS Local laws affect the community and
the county. Local laws may cover the following
areas business license zoning
(location of facility) leash laws -
may require that all dogs outside a
fenced area be on a leash. Any animal
roaming freely is subject to capture and
nuisance laws - noise levels (barking)
- soling (failure to clean feces) -
destruction of private property licenses
- some cities/counties require a license for
dogs and cats - current rabies
vaccination type and number of animals that
may be owned permits to breed pets
The client often turns the veterinarian and
his/her staff to answer questions. Frequently
asked questions 1. How many pets can I
have? 2. How and where do I license my
pet? 3. How much does it cost to license my
pet? 4. What special permits do I need for
breeding or ownership of certain species of
Source Tasks for the Veterinary Assistant by
Paula Pattengale DVM, MA Blackwell Publishing