1.  Providing Veterinary Services

The North Carolina Veterinary Practice Act prohibits an individual from practicing veterinary medicine in this State without first having obtained a license or temporary permit from the Board. The law provides that if an individual practices, or attempts to practice veterinary medicine without being licensed by the NC Board, constitutes a Class-I criminal law misdemeanor.

The penalty for the unauthorized practice of veterinary medicine is set forth in General Statute 90-187.12. Further, such act of unlicensed practice can provide the basis for the Board to file a lawsuit seeking civil injunction against the person(s) in the Superior Court of this State.

NCGS 90-181 Definitions

(6) "Practice of veterinary medicine" means:

a. 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 drug, medicine, biologic, apparatus, application, anesthetic, or other therapeutic or diagnostic substance or technique on any animal.

2.  "Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship" means that:

NC General Statute 90-181(7a) defines the VCPR as follows:

a. The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making medical judgments regarding the health of the animal and the need for medical treatment, and the client (owner or other caretaker) has agreed to follow the instruction of the veterinarian.

b. There is sufficient knowledge of the animal by the veterinarian to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal. This means that the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal by virtue of an examination of the animal, or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal is kept.

c. The practicing veterinarian is readily available or provides for follow-up in case of adverse reactions or failure of the regimen of therapy.

NCGS 90-187.8 Discipline of licensees

(b) The Board may impose and collect from a licensee a civil monetary penalty of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each violation of this Article or a rule adopted under this Article. The amount of the civil penalty, up to the maximum, shall be determined upon a finding of one or more of the following factors:

(18) Selling, dispensing, prescribing, or allowing the sale, dispensing, or prescription of biologics, controlled substances, drugs, or medicines without a veterinarian-client-patient relationship with respect to the sale, dispensing, or prescription.

3.  Qualifications / Exams / Procedures for application in North Carolina for a:

North Carolina General Statute 90-187 and Administrative Rule .0301 provide information about the qualifications and exam procedures for North Carolina.

Veterinary License

Veterinary Technician Registration

Caution North Carolina does NOT accept reciprocity.

4.  On-Line Renewals / Continuing Education

Please refer to Administrative Rule .0206 for information about Continuing Education

The window is typically opened around mid-November and closed the last day of February. You may access your account year-round to update your personal information (except name changes), print a copy of your license/registration, or add CE.

Veterinarians: Annually - $150 and 20 CE hours

Veterinary Technicians: Biennially - $50 and 12 CE hours (every 2 years; it is based on the year of initial registration)

Corporations: Annually - $160

NOTE: You are exempt from CE requirements for your FIRST renewal cycle if you meet the following condition: you graduate the same year you became licensed or registered in North Carolina.

Do you need a CE extension? Please go to our Continuing Education page for instructions located at the bottom of the page.

5. Ownership of Veterinary Practices

Only a North Carolina licensed veterinarian can own and operate a veterinary practice facility and deliver services to the public.

Administrative Code .0201 Welfare groups, Humane Societies, or other entities cannot operate, and are not able to own veterinary practice facilities in North Carolina. Any advertising or promotions suggesting that someone or entity owns a veterinary practice other than a North Carolina licensed veterinarian, would be considered in violation of the Veterinary Practice Act.

Welfare groups, humane societies, or other entities are not authorized by law to engage in the delivery of veterinary medical services to the public.

Please refer to Practice Facilities if interested in owning or purchasing a practice.

6.  Maintaining / Ownership of Patient Records

Veterinarian must maintain patient records for a period of three (3) years per Administrative Code .0207b(12)(B). These records would include written notations, computerized or digital data, radiographs, communication logs, and laboratory reports. Clients often contact the Board office seeking help in obtaining a copy of their medical records. The owner of the patient or group of animals is entitled to a copy of the patient/animals' medical records. The veterinarian or practice to which a request for copies is made shall respond within a reasonable time and may charge a reasonable cost relating to time and expense of reproduction of those copies.

In the February 7, 2002 President's Letter, the Board established the policy when answering questions concerning medical records. All documentation that comprises a medical record including written notations, computerized or digital data, radiographs, and laboratory reports are the property of the veterinary practice. However, the owner of the patient or group of animals is entitled to a copy of the patient or animals' medical record.

7.  Prescriptions

In March, 1996, NC Assistant Attorney General, Kip D. Sturgis, contacted the Board as a result of complaints received by the Attorney General's office concerning veterinarians and prescriptions. Mr. Sturgis summarized his office concerns as follows: The first concern is on medically unjustified restraint of competition in the market for veterinary medicine. The second is directed to the ethics of these anticompetitive practices that not only place the veterinarian's commercial interest in direct conflict with the animal's owner, but may also undermine the veterinarian's professional purpose to promote animal health by foreseeably leading some owner to delay or forego veterinary treatment of their animals. The third is relected by complaints both agencies have received and focuses on the damage these practices have on the public's perception of veterinarians' professionalism. Read Assistant Attorney General K.D. Sturgis' letter

If a veterinarian, based upon his/her medical opinion, is willing to dispense medication, then the veterinarian must also provide a prescription in place of said medication should the owner request a prescription. If a veterinarian, based upon his/her medical opinion, is not willing to dispense medication, than it would also be appropriate to deny a request for a prescription.

Federal legislation has been introduced in both the House and the Senate directly involving veterinary prescriptions. The title of this legislation is the Fairness to Pet Owners Act. The House version is HR 3174. The Senate version is S1200.

8.  Use of the term "Veterinary Technician"

General Statute 90-181(11) reserves the term Veterinary Technician, Registered Veterinary Technician, or Technician for a person that has graduated from an AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) accredited program in veterinary technology, is registered with this Board, and maintains that registration. In the State of North Carolina, if a person is not registered as a veterinary technician, to directly or indirectly imply such is a misrepresentation to the public and a violation of the Veterinary Practice Act.

9.  What duties can a "Veterinary Technician" perform?

General Statute 90-187.6(c) states a veterinary technician may, under the direct supervision of a veterinarian, assist in diagnosis, laboratory analysis, anesthesia, surgical procedures, and perform the following duties: collection of specimen, testing for intestinal parasites, collecting blood, testing for heartworms and conducting other laboratory tests, taking radiographs and cleaning & polishing teeth. (Microchipping - see number 36.) They may NOT perform any act producing an irreversible change in the animal (e.g. pulling a tooth).  

NOTE: NC Registered veterinary technicians may administer a rabies vaccine under the supervision of a NC licensed veterinarian. Both the technician and veterinarian should sign the rabies certificate.

10.  What duties can a "veterinary assistant / veterinary employee" perform?

General Statute 90-187.6(c) states a veterinary assistant / employee shall be limited to services under the direction and supervision of a NC licensed veterinarian. They may perform such duties as are required in the physical care of animals and in carrying out medical orders as prescribed by the veterinarian, requiring an understanding of animal science but not requiring the professional services set forth in General Statute 90-187.6.

They may perform duties including collection of specimen, testing for intestinal parasites, collecting blood, testing for heartworms and conducting other laboratory tests, taking radiographs, and cleaning & polishing teeth, provided that the employee has had sufficient on-the-job training by a veterinarian to perform these specified duties in a competent manner. It shall be the responsibility of the veterinarian supervising the employee to ascertain that the employee performs these specified duties assigned to the employee in a competent manner. (Microchipping - see number 36.)  These specified duties shall be performed under the direct supervision of the veterinarian in charge of administering care to the patient.

The employee may NOT perform any act producing an irreversible change in the animal (e.g. pulling a tooth).

11.  Temporary Permits

Temporary permits allow a qualified applicant to practice veterinary medicine in this state under the supervision of a NC licensed veterinarian for a specific period of time. G.S. 90-187.4

12.  Name Change

In order for the Board to change your name in our system, you will be required to supply a copy of a legal document (e.g. marriage certificate, divorce decree) and a copy of your Social Security card reflecting your new name. In addition, be sure to notify us of any address change. There is no charge for this service.

Should you choose, this request may be faxed to (919) 854-5606.

13.  Fees Relating to Veterinary Medicine

Fees are not addressed in the North Carolina Veterinary Practice Act or Adimistrative Code. As such, the Board has no authority to set/regulate fees or the jurisdiction to settle monetary disputes.

14.  Sales by Veterinarians  

Sales of Medicines and Drugs

Sales of products other than Medicines and Drugs

Veterinarian's use of a Certificate of Exemption

15.  Abandonment of Animals

G.S. 90-187.7 States that any animal placed in the custody of a licensed veterinarian for treatment, boarding, or other care, which shall be unclaimed by its owner or agent for a period of more than ten (10) days after written notice by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested to the owner or his agent at his last known address, shall be deemed to be abandoned and may be turned over to the nearest humane society, dog pound, or disposed of as such custodian may deem proper.

The giving of notice to the owner or agent of the owner of such animals by the licensed veterinarian shall relieve the licensed veterinarian and any custodian to whom such animal may be given of any further liability for disposal.

16.  Who can give rabies vaccinations?  NC General Statute 130A-185/

17.  Rabies Vaccine Information

Contact the NC Department of Public Health, Epidemiology at (919)733-3410.

Vaccination Requirements and Guidelines

Memorandum from Dr. Carl Williams

Protocol for dogs, cats and ferrets exposed to rabies

NOTE: NC Registered Veterinary Technicians may administer a rabies vaccine under the supervision of a NC licensed veterinarian. Both the technician and the veterinarian should sign the rabies certificate.

18.  Disposing of NON-Controlled Medications


19.  Disposing Controlled Substances / Expired Narcotics - Do not throw them away with your trash!

DEA: Drug Disposal

How do I dispose of expired/unwanted substances?
By contacting a NC-DCU agent at 919-733-1765 or NCCSAREG@dhhs.nc.gov and submitting Form-41 to the DEA office, using a DEA registered controlled substances disposal form, or re-distributing to the original supplying/manufacturing company where the chemical was obtained.

20.  DEA - Call Center at 800-882-9539

Greensboro, NC - Phone: (336) 547-4219
Atlanta, GA - Phone: (888) 869-9935 or (404) 893-7165

Questions and Answers

Theft/loss of controlled substances must be reported to DEA. Submit DEA Form 106 and follow all DEA regulations regarding this matter.

If selling or transferring your practice, contact the Drug Control Unit for instructions on how to transfer the drugs.

21.  Drug Logs / Drug Receipts

DEA Regulation 21 CFR 1304.04(a) requires: All controlled substance records are required to be maintained for two (2) years.

22.  Compounding

NC Board of Pharmacy, see Administrative Code 21 NCAC 46.1810


23.  Controlled Substance Regulation

If two (2) or more veterinarians are working out of the same cache of controlled substances, the facility the veterinarians are working out of must be registered with the NC Controlled Substances Regulatory branch. Read more...

Phone: 919-733-1765

24.  NC DHHS: Division of Health Service Regulation - Radiation Protection Section

Steps to Install X-Ray Equipment / Register a Facility

Registration Memorandum

25.  NC Division of Waste Management

Medical Waste Guidelines & Interpretations

26.  Volunteer Opportunity:  The NC Veterinary Response Corps

Their mission is to train and prepare professional in the animal care community to respond to disaster events (all hazards) that affect both production and companion animals.

27.  Heartworm Testing

Heartworm Society

28.  Animal Importation / Exportation

FAQ - Centers for Disease Control

29.  Privilege License

Required for veterinarians providing services in North Carolina. Form  Application for NC State Privelege License.

30.  Inactive Status: A status you may want to consider if contemplating retirement

A veterinarian may elect "inactive status" by submitting a letter of request to the Board office. To qualify, you must be in good standing with the Board and not be practicing veterinary medicine in any state. Administrative Code .0309

31.  Reinstating you License/Registration

A veterinarian/technician may be reinstated at any time once requirements are met and a "Reinstatement" form is submitted. Please go to our "License/Registration" page for details.

GS 90-187.9; NCAC .0108; NCAC .0308

32.  After Hours Emergency Services

The veterinarian who is the owner, as well as the veterinarian who is in charge of the facility, shall provide after-hours emergency service by one or more of the methods listed below.

.0207 Minimum Facility and Practice Standards in Parts (b)(19)(A) through (D) of the NC Administrative Code. If after house emergency services shall be provided other than by the veterinarian who is the owner or who is the veterinarian in charge of the facility, the name, address and telephone numbers of the provider of the after-hours emergency service shall be posted prominently at the facility in areas where this information is likely to be seen by persons comint to the entrances of the facility.

(A) Availability by telephone, pager, or answering machine; or

(B) Membership in an after-hours emergency services facility or organization that agrees with the veterinarian to assume the responsibility for this care; or

(C) An agreement for this care with another facility located in the same general community, area, or region served by the primary facility and which provides after hours emergency service; or

(D) Notification of the name, address, and telephone numbers of an emergency veterinary service facility, open to the public, which provides after hours emergency service, located in the same general community, area, or region served by the primary facility.

33.  Data Requests

If you are interested in requesting data, please go to our "Misc. Requests" page for instructions.

34.  License Verifications

Please go to our "Misc. Requests" page for instructions.

35.  Minimum Facility and Practice Standards

SECTION .0207 - The minimum standards for all facilities where veterinary medicine is practiced

36.  Health Certificates

For International and state-to-state, please go to our "Web Links" page for contact information located in the 'Veterinarians' Section.

37.  Microchipping

The microchipping procedure must be performed by a veterinarian, by a registered veterinary technician or a veterinary assistant employed by the veterinarian directly supervised by the veterinarian.  The term “direct supervision” means that the veterinarian is on the premises and readily available to answer questions or assist the employee being supervised.  Further, an existing veterinarian-client-patient relationship is not required prior to microchipping being performed by the veterinarian (or by his supervised employee).  A veterinarian-client-patient relationship is established with the performing of the microchipping procedure.