The Vermont Statutes Online
The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.
NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.
- Subchapter 001: General Provisions
§ 2401. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) “Animal” means any animal other than a human and includes fowl, birds, fish, and reptiles.
(2) “Board” means the Vermont Board of Veterinary Medicine created under this chapter.
(3) “E.C.F.V.G.” means American Veterinary Medical Association Education Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates.
(4) “Licensed veterinarian” means a person who is validly and currently licensed by the Board to practice veterinary medicine in Vermont.
(5) “Practice of veterinary medicine” means:
(A) for a consideration, to diagnose, treat, correct, change, relieve, or prevent animal disease, deformity, defect, injury, or other physical or mental conditions; including the prescription or administration of any drugs, biologic, apparatus, application, anesthetic, or other therapeutic or diagnostic substance or technique and the use of any manual or mechanical procedure for testing for pregnancy or for correcting sterility, or infertility, or to render advice or recommendation with regard to any of the acts described in this subdivision (A);
(B) to represent, directly or indirectly, publicly or privately, an ability and willingness to do any act described in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (5);
(C) to use any title, words, abbreviation, or letters in a manner or under circumstances that induce the belief that the person using them is qualified to do any act described in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (5), except where such a person is a veterinarian;
(D) to perform a dental operation on an animal.
(6) “School of veterinary medicine” means a college of veterinary medicine approved or accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
(7) “Disciplinary action” or “disciplinary cases” includes any action taken by a board against a licensee or applicant premised upon a finding of wrongdoing or unprofessional conduct by the licensee or applicant. It includes all sanctions of any kind, including obtaining injunctions, issuing warnings, and other similar sanctions and ordering restitution.
(8) “Financial interest” means being:
(A) a licensed veterinarian;
(B) a person who deals in goods and services that are uniquely related to the practice of veterinary medicine; or
(C) a person who has invested anything of value in a business that provides veterinary services.
(9)(A) “Dental operation” means:
(i) the application or use of any instrument or device to any portion of an animal’s tooth, gum, or any related tissue for the prevention, cure, or relief of any wound, fracture, injury, or disease of an animal’s tooth, gum, or related tissue; and
(ii) preventive dental procedures, including the removal of calculus, soft deposits, plaque, or stains or the smoothing, filing, or polishing of tooth surfaces.
(B) “Dental operation” does not mean the use by any person of cotton swabs, gauze, dental floss, dentifrice, toothbrushes, or similar items to clean an animal’s teeth. (Added 1981, No. 67, § 1; amended 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 22; 2013, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2017, No. 48, § 17.)
§ 2402. Prohibition; offenses
(a) No person shall:
(1) practice or attempt to practice veterinary medicine or hold himself or herself out as being able to do so in this State without first having obtained a license from the Board;
(2) use in connection with the person’s name any letters, words, or insignia indicating or implying that the person is a veterinarian unless the person is a graduate of a school of veterinary medicine;
(3) practice or attempt to practice veterinary medicine during license revocation or suspension;
(4) transfer a license to practice veterinary medicine; or
(5) violate any of the provisions of this chapter.
(b) A person who violates subdivision (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this section or who obtains a license by fraud or misrepresentation shall be subject to the penalties provided in 3 V.S.A. § 127(c). (Added 1981, No. 67, § 1; amended 2007, No. 29, § 34.)
§ 2403. Exemptions from licensure
Regardless of whether acts performed are within the definition of the practice of veterinary medicine as defined in subdivision 2401(5) of this title, a license to practice veterinary medicine shall not be required under section 2402 of this title by the following:
(1) The owner of an animal and the owner’s full-time regular employee caring for and treating the animal belonging to the owner, except where the ownership of the animal was transferred for purposes of circumventing this chapter.
(2) A person advising with respect to or performing acts that are accepted livestock management practices and animal husbandry practices such as the use of procedures for artificial insemination, dehorning, clipping and shoeing animals, trimming feet, and use of handheld files, rasps, or other devices to remove overgrowth from the teeth of horses (floating), but not to include power-assisted filing or power-assisted floating, extraction of teeth, or other procedures that invade the soft tissue of the mouth. Prescription drugs shall not be used except by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian, as provided by State and federal law.
(3) An employee of the federal, State, or local government performing his or her official duties.
(4) A person who is a regular student in a school of veterinary medicine performing duties or actions assigned by his or her instructors, or working under the direct on-premises supervision of a licensed veterinarian during a school vacation period, or in a preceptorship program.
(5) A veterinarian regularly licensed in another state consulting with a licensed veterinarian in this State.
(6) Any merchant or manufacturer selling at his or her regular place of business medicines, feed, appliances, or other products used in the prevention or treatment of animal diseases.
(7) A member of the faculty of a school of veterinary medicine performing his or her regular functions or a person lecturing or giving instructions or demonstrations at a school of veterinary medicine or in connection with a continuing education course or seminar.
(8) Any person selling or applying any pesticide, insecticide, or herbicide.
(9) Any person engaging in bona fide scientific research that reasonably requires experimentation involving animals.
(10) Any employee of a licensed veterinarian performing duties other than diagnosis, prescription, or surgery under the direct on-premises supervision of the veterinarian who is responsible for his or her performance.
(11) A graduate of a foreign college of veterinary medicine who is in the process of obtaining an E.C.F.V.G. certificate performing duties or actions under the direct on-premises supervision of a licensed veterinarian. (Added 1981, No. 67, § 1; amended 2001, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 22, eff. June 27, 2002; 2013, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)
§ 2404. Immunity from liability; cases of animal cruelty
(a) There shall be no monetary liability on the part of, and no cause of action for damages shall arise against, a veterinarian licensed to practice in this State who, in good faith and in the normal course of practice, reports suspected cases of cruelty to animals, as defined in 13 V.S.A. §§ 352 and 352a, to any humane officer or officer as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 351(4) or local board of health officer or agent.
(b) There shall be no monetary liability on the part of, and no cause of action for damages against, a veterinarian licensed to practice in this State who accompanies a humane officer during the execution of a warrant pursuant to 13 V.S.A. § 354, or evaluates the health of and provides medical attention to, including a decision for euthanasia, an animal brought to that veterinarian for health assessment or necessary medical care, pursuant to 13 V.S.A. § 354.
(c) There shall be no monetary liability on the part of, and no cause of action for damages against, a veterinarian licensed to practice in this State who inspects premises or orders a quarantine pursuant to 20 V.S.A. § 3682 or 3683. (Added 2003, No. 60, § 12; amended 2013, No. 201 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)
§ 2405. Immunity from liability for good samaritan acts
(a) For purposes of this section, an “emergency” shall include a fire, flood, storm, or other natural disaster, hazardous chemical or substance incident, vehicular collision with an animal, or other transportation accident where an animal is injured or in need of assistance to protect its health or life.
(b) A veterinarian licensed by the Board or any other person who, in good faith, provides care and treatment to an animal during an emergency shall not be held liable for civil damages by the owner of the animal, unless his or her acts constitute gross negligence or unless he or she will receive or expects to receive remuneration.
(c) Nothing contained in this section shall alter existing law with respect to tort liability of a practitioner of veterinary medicine for acts committed in the ordinary course of his or her practice. (Added 2001, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 24, eff. June 27, 2002.)
- Subchapter 002: State Veterinary Board
§ 2411. Qualifications; term of office; removal
(a) A State Veterinary Board is created, which shall be the continuation of and successor to the State Board of Veterinary Registration and Examination established by chapter 43, subchapter 2 of this title.
(b) The Board shall consist of six members, four of whom are residents of the State and are graduates of a school of veterinary medicine, and who have had at least five years’ experience in the State and are in the active practice of veterinary medicine at the time of their appointment; and two members who shall be representatives of the public who shall be residents of the State for five years and who shall have no financial interest in the profession other than as consumers or potential consumers of its services. They shall have no financial interest personally or through a spouse, parent, child, brother, or sister. The public members shall participate in all Board functions with the exception of drafting and grading examinations.
(c) Board members shall be appointed by the Governor pursuant to 3 V.S.A. §§ 129b and 2004. (Added 1981, No. 67, § 1; amended 2005, No. 27, § 69.)
§ 2412. Functioning of licensing Board
(a) Annually, the Board shall meet to elect a chair, vice chair, and a secretary.
(b) Meetings may be called by the Chair and shall be called upon the request of any other three members.
(c) A majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for transacting business and all action shall be taken upon a majority vote of the members present and voting. (Added 1981, No. 67, § 1; amended 2005, No. 27, § 70.)
§ 2413. Powers and duties
(a) The Board shall:
(1) Adopt rules under 3 V.S.A. chapter 25 necessary for the performance of its duties, ensuring that at least the following are established by statute or rule:
(A) a definition of the behavior for which a license is required;
(B) explanations of appeal and other significant rights given by law to licensees, applicants, and the public; and
(C) rules of practice in disciplinary cases, including provisions regarding representation and evidence at hearings and provisions regarding subpoenas and witness fees.
(2) Conduct any necessary hearings in connection with the issuance, renewal, suspension, or revocation of a license or otherwise related to the disciplining of a licensee.
(3) Receive complaints and charges of unprofessional conduct against any holder of a license. The Board shall investigate all complaints in which there are reasonable grounds to believe that unprofessional conduct has occurred.
(b) The Board may:
(1) with the approval of the Director of the Office of Professional Regulation, make contracts and arrangements for the performance of administrative and similar services required or appropriate in the performance of its duties;
(2) issue subpoenas and administer oaths in connection with any authorized investigation, hearing, or disciplinary proceeding;
(3) take or cause depositions to be taken as needed in any investigation, hearing, or proceeding;
(4) receive legal assistance from the Attorney General of the State. (Added 1981, No. 67, § 1; amended 1985, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(d).)
§ 2414. Fees
Applicants and persons regulated under this chapter shall pay the following fees:
(1) Application $145.00
(2) Biennial Renewal $200.00 (Added 1981, No. 67, § 1; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 57; 1991, No. 167 (Adj. Sess.), § 37; 1993, No. 108 (Adj. Sess.), § 14, eff. Feb. 16, 1994; 2005, No. 202 (Adj. Sess.), § 17; 2011, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 29; 2015, No. 57, § 3; 2019, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 14, eff. Oct. 1, 2020; 2023, No. 77, § 33, eff. June 20, 2023.)
- Subchapter 003: Examinations and Licenses
§ 2421. Eligibility
(a) An applicant is eligible for licensure who has:
(1) reached the age of majority;
(2) graduated from a school of veterinary medicine accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association or the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association; and
(3) passed the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE), or any subsequent licensing examinations prepared under the authority of the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (NBVME) or its successor organization.
(b) Applicants who are not graduates of schools of veterinary medicine accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) shall possess a certificate issued by the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG), its successor organization, or an organization acceptable to the Board.
(c) Upon submission of evidence acceptable to the Board of satisfaction of these eligibility criteria and upon payment of the required fees, the applicant shall receive a license; provided, however, that the Board may also require satisfactory completion of an examination covering State laws and rules related to the practice of veterinary medicine and the State or national veterinary codes of ethics.
(d) For purposes of this section, an applicant’s score on the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination or any subsequent licensing examinations prepared under the authority of the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, or its successor organization, shall be valid for two years from the date the applicant passed the examination. (Added 1981, No. 67, § 1; amended 1995, No. 111 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1997, No. 40, § 30; 2005, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 21; 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 23.)
§ 2422. Application
An application for a license shall be in writing and signed by the applicant, on forms furnished by the Office of Professional Regulation, setting forth facts concerning the applicant as the Board may require. (Added 1981, No. 67, § 1; amended 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(d); 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 24.)
§ 2423. Licensing standards and procedures
Licensing standards and procedures established by the Board shall be fair and reasonable and shall be designed and implemented to measure and reasonably ensure an applicant’s qualifications to practice the occupation. They shall not be designed or implemented for the purpose of limiting the size of the occupation. (Added 1981, No. 67, § 1; amended 1995, No. 111 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)
§ 2424. Licensure by endorsement
(a) The Board, or Office of Professional Regulation on its behalf, shall, upon application and payment of the required fee, issue a license without a written national examination to a person who:
(1) holds a current license in good standing in another U.S. or Canadian jurisdiction whose licensing standards are substantially equivalent to those of Vermont; and
(2) has met the continuing education requirements.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the Board may require that an applicant for licensure without examination satisfactorily complete an examination covering State laws and rules related to the practice of veterinary medicine and the State or national veterinary codes of ethics.
(c) As used in this section, “in good standing” means that the applicant:
(1) has not:
(A) been the subject of any administrative penalties regarding his or her practice of veterinary medicine, including fines, formal reprimands, license suspension, or revocations, except for license revocations for nonpayment of license renewal fees;
(B) been the subject of probationary limitations; or
(C) entered into any “consent agreements” that contain conditions placed by a regulatory board on his or her professional conduct and practice, including any voluntary surrender of a license;
(2) has never had his or her U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration privileges restricted or revoked;
(3) is not currently under investigation by another veterinary licensing authority;
(4) has no physical or mental impairment related to drugs, alcohol, or a finding of mental incompetence by a physician that would limit the applicant’s ability to undertake the practice of veterinary medicine in a manner consistent with the safety of a patient or the public;
(5) has not been convicted of a felony; or
(6) has no criminal conviction record nor pending criminal charge relating to an offense that relates substantially to the practice of veterinary medicine. An applicant who has a criminal conviction record or against whom criminal charges are pending shall arrange for the appropriate authorities to provide information about the record or charge directly to the Board. Information provided under this subdivision shall be sufficiently specific to enable the Board to determine whether the record or charge is substantially related to the practice of veterinary medicine.
(d) An applicant who is not in good standing shall be eligible for licensure under this subsection, if the applicant can demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Board, that he or she is otherwise qualified for licensure under this section. The Board may place limitations on licenses issued under this subsection or establish conditions of probation prior to the issuance of a license. (Added 1981, No. 67, § 1; amended 1985, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1989, No. 250 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(d); 1995, No. 111 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 1997, No. 40, § 31; 2001, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 25, eff. June 27, 2002; 2007, No. 29, § 35; 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 25.)
§ 2425. Certificate of licensure
(a) The Board shall license as a veterinarian each applicant who proves to the satisfaction of the Board his or her fitness for licensure under the terms of this chapter. It shall issue to each person licensed a certificate of licensure, which shall be prima facie evidence of the right of the person to whom it is issued to practice as a licensed veterinarian or to represent himself or herself as a licensed veterinarian, subject to the conditions and limitations of this chapter.
(b) If a licensee has a principal place of business for the practice of veterinary medicine, a license shall be prominently displayed at that place.
(c) Licenses may not be transferred. (Added 1981, No. 67, § 1.)
§ 2426. Renewal of license
(a) On a schedule established by the Office of Professional Regulation, a licensed veterinarian shall pay to the Secretary of State a renewal fee in the amount prescribed by section 2414 of this title, and shall receive a license card bearing his or her name, address, registration number, and the date of expiration of the license.
(b) A person shall not be required to pay renewal fees for years during which the license was lapsed.
(c) As a condition of renewal, a licensee shall complete continuing veterinary medical education, approved by the Board by rule, during the preceding two-year period. For purposes of this subsection, the Board may require, by rule, not more than 24 hours of approved continuing veterinary medical education as a condition of renewal. (Added 1981, No. 67, § 1; amended 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 12; 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 18; 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 26.)
§ 2427. Repealed. 2009, No. 35, § 41(a).
§ 2428. Reinstatement
A license that has lapsed for five years or longer may be reinstated upon successful completion of national board licensing examinations within the previous two years or upon proof that the licensee has actively practiced licensed clinical veterinary medicine for 3,000 hours during the preceding three years in another U.S. or Canadian jurisdiction. (Added 1981, No. 67, § 1; amended 1999, No. 133 (Adj. Sess.), § 19; 2005, No. 27, § 71; 2007, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 27.)
- Subchapter 004: Unprofessional Conduct and Discipline
§ 2431. Unprofessional conduct
(a) Unprofessional conduct is the conduct prohibited by this section, and by 3 V.S.A. § 129a, whether or not taken by a license holder.
(b) Unprofessional conduct means:
(1) failing to make available, upon request of a person using the licensee’s services, copies of documents in the possession or under the control of the licensee, when those documents have been prepared for and purchased by the user of services;
(2) conduct that evidences moral unfitness to practice the occupation;
(3) any of the following except when reasonably undertaken in an emergency situation in order to protect life, health, or property:
(A) practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law;
(B) accepting and performing occupational responsibilities that the licensee knows or has reason to know that he or she is not competent to perform;
(C) performing occupational services that have not been authorized by the consumer or his or her legal representative.
(c) After hearing, the Board may take disciplinary action against a licensee or applicant found guilty of unprofessional conduct. Discipline against an applicant may be a warning, a reprimand, suspension of a license for a specific period of time, or permanent revocation or denial of license. (Added 1981, No. 67, § 1; amended 1997, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 46.)
§ 2432. Repealed. 2013, No. 27, § 30.
§ 2433. Veterinarian-client-patient relationship; veterinarian of record
(a) The veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) exists when all of the following conditions have been met:
(1) The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of one or more animals and the need for medical treatment, and the client, who is the owner of the animals or their caretaker, has agreed to follow the veterinarian’s instructions;
(2) The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of those animals to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animals. This means that the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animals by virtue of an examination of the animals or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animals are kept; and
(3) The veterinarian is readily available or has arranged for emergency coverage for follow-up evaluation of those animals in the event of adverse reactions or failure of the treatment regimen.
(b) Only a licensed veterinarian with a valid VCPR may:
(1) authorize the dispensing of veterinary prescription drugs;
(2) issue a valid veterinary feed directive;
(3) authorize drug distributors to deliver veterinary prescription drugs to a specific client; or
(4) prescribe, order, or otherwise authorize a pharmacist to dispense veterinary prescription drugs to a specific client.
(c)(1) The veterinarian of record (VOR) is the food animal veterinarian responsible for providing appropriate oversight of drug use on a farm premises for specific animals or group of animals.
(2) If more than one veterinarian or veterinary practice has a working relationship on a farm premises, then the VCPR agreement shall establish which veterinarian has the responsibility for specific animals or animal groups.
(3) A veterinarian who is not the VOR, when providing professional services, is responsible for making provisions for emergency follow-up care and must notify the VOR of his or her findings and recommendations.
(d) Prescriptions from veterinarians are subject to Vermont prescription drug cost containment statutes set forth in 18 V.S.A. chapter 91.
(e) Establishment of a VCPR for the sole purpose of the sale of drugs or increased sales of a particular brand of drug product is not a valid or ethical reason for having a VCPR. (Added 2017, No. 48, § 17.)