Let’s Keep Vigilant!
The CVMA Unlicensed Activity department sends educational letters to reported offenders, with different types of letters depending on the type of complaint. The intent of these letters is to provide information regarding California law, such as who is allowed to perform various types of procedures and when restrictions are applied to these procedures.
The letters cover such areas as chiropractic (MSM), alternative therapies, administration of vaccines, drug wholesalers, pharmacies selling legend/prescription drugs without a veterinary-client-patient relationship, small-animal dentistry, large-animal dentistry, and aiding and abetting the practice of veterinary medicine. They include information like this, taken from the Veterinary Practice Act:
► Teeth Cleaning – “Teeth cleaning” procedures when using any instrument or device, for example “metal scaler,” can only be performed by a licensed veterinarian or under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian. “Direct supervision” means the supervising California licensed veterinarian is on the premises in an animal hospital setting and, as the supervisor, is quickly and easily available.
In addition, a veterinarian must have examined the animal within a time period required by good veterinary medical practice before the procedure is delegated.
► Vaccinations – Many vaccines are sold as over-the-counter products, but the actual administration of vaccine must be done by, or under direct supervision of, a licensed veterinarian. This restriction applies whether or not a fee is charged.
► Legend/Prescription Drugs – The terms legend and prescription drugs are synonymous. The Federal Drug Administration defines these drugs as being dangerous and therefore requiring a special label that says “Caution: Federal Law prohibits dispensing without prescription,” or words of similar import. These drugs cannot be sold or dispensed to the public from any facility other than a pharmacy or a veterinary hospital.
► Rabies Vaccines – Rabies vaccines can only be sold to a veterinarian and are administered by, or under the direct supervision of, the veterinarian. Rabies vaccine and its use are subject to control by the California Department of Health Services.
► Treating Animals While Boarding – Treating animals left in your care is appropriate if the owner provides the medication and instructs you on its proper use. However, it is unlawful to give animals left in your care medications given to you by others for similar problems. To do so would be considered “diagnosis and treatment.”
► Diagnosis and Treatment – Diagnosis and treatment, of whatever nature, for the prevention, cure, or relief of a wound, fracture, or bodily injury or disease of animals is limited to veterinarians licensed to practice within the state of California. This would include the diagnosis or treatment of skin disorders, parasitic infestations, intestinal problems, and dental diseases, among others.
► Prescribe and Administer – Only a California-licensed veterinarian may prescribe or administer “a drug, medicine, appliance, application, or treatment of whatever nature for the prevention, cure or relief of a wound, fracture, bodily injury or disease of animals, except when the drug, medicine, appliance, application, or treatment is administered by a Registered Veterinary Technician or an unregistered assistant at the direction of and under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian. “Direct supervision” means the supervising California licensed veterinarian is on the premises in an animal hospital setting and, as the supervisor, is quickly and easily available.
If you know of a business that is in need of an educational letter, please do not hesitate to call us and provide us with the address. The letters are always copied to the Veterinary Medical Board, and for confidentiality, are blind copied to the reporting veterinarian, so you know the business received a letter. Then you can monitor to see if there are changes.
Let’s keep vigilant!
To comment or submit column ideas, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800.655.2862.
© 2020 California Veterinary Medical Association