Legislation across the U.S. affects veterinary medicine

  |   Legislative

States continue to work through important veterinary issues including antimicrobial resistance, prescription drug monitoring programs, scope of practice, continuing education, and euthanasia.

On the topic of antimicrobial resistance, a bill introduced in Illinois would allow a food-producing animal to receive a medically important antibiotic only if a licensed veterinarian has visited the farm operation within the past 6 months and the antibiotic is deemed necessary to treat or control the spread of a disease.

In the face of a growing nation-wide opioid epidemic, bills introduced in several states aim to regulate the dispensing and/or prescribing of controlled substances by practitioners, including veterinarians. In Kansas, legislation proposes to reclassify veterinarians as a practitioner, thus no longer excluding them from the state’s prescription drug monitoring program. Louisiana introduced a bill that would exempt veterinarians from controlled substance continuing education requirements and from accessing the prescription monitoring program prior to prescribing an opioid.

In Minnesota, one bill would prohibit a veterinarian from dispensing Schedule II-IV controlled substances without first requiring the person buying the substances to present valid photo identification. A second piece of legislation in Minnesota would allow a veterinarian to access the state’s prescription monitoring program for a current client if the veterinarian had a reasonable basis to suspect the client was potentially abusing prescribed controlled substances.

A law takes effect in Indiana on July 2019 that requires licensed practitioners, including veterinarians, to complete two hours of continuing education, per license renewal, on opioid prescribing and abuse.

In California a bill has been introduced that would allow a licensed physical therapist to perform animal physical rehabilitation if he or she meets certain conditions such as obtaining an advanced certificate in animal physical rehabilitation. While in Utah, a bill proposes to define teeth floating and exempt individuals who perform the procedure from the Veterinary Practice Act.

Following the North Carolina Dental Board U.S. Supreme Court Case, state legislatures continue to evaluate the operation and construction of state regulatory boards. A bill in Louisiana would restructure the board of veterinary medicine.

Over the last month, legislation was introduced in three states to prohibit the use of gas when euthanizing an animal. A bill in Ohio would prohibit an animal shelter from destroying an animal using a carbon monoxide gas chamber, carbon dioxide gas chamber, or any other non-anesthetic inhalant unless the State Veterinary Medical Licensing Board, in consultation with the State Board of Pharmacy, declared that there was a shortage of approved lethal injection substances.

New Mexico’s governor vetoed a bill that would have required the Animal Sheltering Committee to develop criteria for individuals, groups, animal shelters, and euthanasia agencies to receive assistance for dog and cat spaying and neutering from the Animal Care and Facility Fund. Assistance would have only been provided to entities or groups who aid service recipients with a household income of less than 200% of the current federal poverty level guidelines.

A bill introduced in Vermont would prohibit the use of vertebrate animals in non-medical research testing if there is an alternative test method that does not use vertebrate animals and provides equivalent or better scientific information than the animal test it replaces.

Here is a chart containing pieces of state legislation introduced within the past month and tracked by the AVMA State Advocacy Division. For more information on bills and regulations, please see the full listing or contact the AVMA’s State Advocacy Division.

By Dr. Ashley Morgan, Director, AVMA State Advocacy Division


Posted April 6, 2018