(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.
§ 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) 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.
(3) Qualifications / Exams / Procedures for application in North Carolina for a:
Veterinary Technician Registration
North Carolina does not accept reciprocity.
(4) "Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship" means that:
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.
§ 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.
(5) Maintaining / Ownership of Patient Records
Veterinarians must maintain patient records for a period of three (3) years Administrative Code .0207b(12)(B). These records would include written notations, computerized or digital data, radiographs 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/animal’s 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 animal’s medical record.
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 owners to delay or forego veterinary treatment of their animals. The third is reflected by complaints both agencies have received and focuses on the damage these practices have on the public’s perception of veterinarian’s professionalism. (Read 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.
(7) Use of the term "Veterinary Technician"
General Statute 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.
(8) What duties can a "Veterinary Technician" perform?
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. They may NOT perform any act producing an irreversible change in the animal (e.g. pulling a tooth).
(9) What duties can a "Veterinary Assistant/Veterinary Employee" perform?
A veterinary assistant/employee shall be limited to services under the direction and supervision of a 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 as 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. 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).
(10) 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 paper) 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.
(11) Fees Relating to Veterinary Medicine
Fees are not addressed in the North Carolina Veterinary Practice Act or Administrative Code. As such, the Board has no authority to set/regulate fees or the jurisdiction to settle monetary disputes.
(12) 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.
(13) Who can give rabies vaccinations? NC General Statute 130A-185
(14) Rabies Vaccine Information
Contact the NC Department of Public Health, Epidemiology at (919) 733-3410.
Memorandum from Dr. Carl Williams
Protocol for Dogs, Cats and Ferrets Exposed to Rabies
(15) Disposing Controlled Substances / Expired Narcotics -- DEA: Drug Disposal
Do not throw them away with your office trash! Consider contacting a reverse distributor. There is only one (1) currently in NC and they are "Pharmaceutical Dimensions" in Greensboro. Their toll free phone number is (877) 297-4851 or you may sign up on their web site at www.phdreturns.com
(16) 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.
(17) Controlled Substance Regulation
If more than one veterinarian is working out of the same cache of controlled drugs, the facility the veterinarians work out of must be registered with the NC Controlled Substances Regulatory branch. Read more...
Phone: (919) 733-1765
(18) VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: The NC Veterinary Response Corps
Their mission is to train and prepare professionals in the animal care community to respond to disaster events (all hazard) that affect both production and companion animal. Read more...
(19) Heartworm Testing: Heartworm Society
(20) Privilege License
Required for veterinarians providing services in North Carolina. Application for NC State Privilege license
(21) Inactive Status for Veterinarians
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
(22) Reinstating your License/Registration
A veterinarian/technician may be relicensed or reinstated at any time without examination once requirements are met and a "Reinstatement Form" submitted. Please go to our "License/Registration" page for details.
(23) 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 hours 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 coming 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.
(24) Data Requests
If you are interested in requesting data, please go to our "Misc. Request" page for instructions.