Colorado redefines veterinary practice

Colorado redefines veterinary practice

Mar 01, 2012

Denver, Colo. — The Colorado veterinary board amended a number of regulations—from a definition on veterinary dentistry to rules waiving a valid-veterinarian-patient relationship in times of emergency. The state board says these amendments were necessary to comply with statutory actions and better define the practice of veterinary medicine.

For example, the board rules help clarify what dental procedures fall within the scope of veterinary practice. According to the amended regulations, "diagnosing, treating, correcting, changing, relieving or preventing abnormalities of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area or associated structures, including surgical, non-surgical or related procedures are considered within the realm of veterinary practice, as well as 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." Preventive dental procedures like removing plaque or stains and filing or polishing teeth are also included under the umbrella of veterinary practice. Using cotton swabs, dental floss or toothbrushes is not considered the practice of veterinary medicine.

Under the amended regulations, the board rules also cover several reproductive services, including transrectal procedures, embryo transfer, semen collection and uterine lavage.

In terms of continuing education, the amended regulations require each veterinarian licensed in Colorado to complete 32 hours of educational study per license renewal period. The requirement does not apply to an applicant's first renewal. No more than six hours will be accepted for non-technical competencies.

Additionally, the amendments set out rules for waiving the veterinarian-client-patient relationship in emergency situations. According to the changes, a licensed veterinarian who does not have such a relationship with a patient may administer, distribute or dispense prescription drugs during an emergency when the practitioner can document an immediate need for the drug.

The rules also update the board's schedule of fines for violations of the state veterinary practice act. Fines range from $250 to $1,000 for first, second and subsequent violations of rules on record keeping or failing to provide records or written prescriptions. The changes took effect Dec. 30, 2011.