GVMA and the State Board of Veterinary Medicine

Spot the difference: GVMA and the State Board of Veterinary Medicine

The GVMA is a membership organization—governed by a Board of Directors with representatives from 12 districts throughout the state. We exist to serve you, our members.

Our major purposes are to:

  • further veterinary medicine in the state of Georgia
  • advocate for veterinarians on legal and regulatory issues that affect the way veterinary medicine is  practiced and veterinary facilities are regulated (either by the Georgia state legislature or the Georgia State Board of Veterinary Medicine)
  • to provide a trusted source for continuing education for veterinarians

Let’s look at the State Board of Veterinary Medicine—their powers and responsibilities are established in the Georgia Veterinary Practice Act. The entire Practice Act can be found on the GVMA website and this article is excerpting only parts of the Act. 

The State Board is a government agency currently housed in the Secretary of State’s office (all code numbers are from the Practice Act).

43-50-20. Creation of board; members; qualifications (a) There shall be a State Board of Veterinary Medicine, the members of which shall be appointed by the Governor with the approval of the Secretary of State and confirmation by the Senate. The board shall consist of six members, each appointed for a term of five years or until his or her successor is appointed. Five members of the board shall be duly licensed veterinarians and the sixth member shall be appointed from the public at large.

43-50-21. General powers of board; liberal construction of powers (a) The board shall have the power to:

(1) Examine and determine the qualifications and fitness of  applicants for licenses to practice veterinary medicine  and veterinary technology in this state;

(2) Issue, renew, refuse to renew, deny, suspend, or  revoke licenses to practice veterinary  medicine or veterinary technology in this state or otherwise discipline licensed veterinarians and licensed veterinary technicians; and to issue, renew, deny, suspend, or revoke veterinary faculty licenses, consistent with this chapter and the rules and regulations adopted under this chapter;

(3) Conduct investigations for the purpose of discovering violations of this chapter or grounds for disciplining persons licensed under this chapter;

(4) Inspect veterinary premises and equipment, including mobile veterinary clinics, at any time in accordance with  protocols established by rule of the board;

(5) Hold hearings on all matters properly brought before  the board; and, in connection therewith, to administer  oaths, receive evidence, make the necessary  determinations, andenter orders consistent with the findings. 

(6)Appoint from its own membership one member to  act as a representative of the board at any meeting within or outside the state where such representative is deemed desirable;

(7) Bring proceedings in the courts for the enforcement of this chapter or any regulations made pursuant to this chapter;

(8) Adopt, amend, or repeal all rules necessary for its government and all regulations necessary to carry this chapter into effect, including the establishment of  standards of professional conduct for the practice of veterinary medicine and veterinary technology; and

(9) Establish and publish annually a schedule of fees for licensing

In addition to these powers, the State Board also 

  • establishes continuing professional veterinary medical education requirements for the renewal of veterinary  licenses (30 hours per biennium for veterinarians and 10 per biennium for veterinary technicians). 

[43-50-40 (d) (1) 

  • is authorized to refuse to grant a license or to suspend or revoke it or discipline a licensed person for the following reasons (paraphrased) 

 [43-50-41. (a) (1) – (15)

(1) Failed to demonstrate the qualifications or standards for a license;

(2) Knowingly made misleading, deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations in the practice of veterinary medicine or veterinary technology on any document;

(3) Been convicted of any felony or crime involving moral turpitude in the courts of this any state, territory, or country or in the courts of the United States. 

(4) Been arrested, charged, and sentenced for the commission of any felony.

(5) Had his or her license to practice veterinary medicine or veterinary technology revoked, suspended, or annulled, had disciplinary action taken, was denied a license, or refused the renewal of a license by any lawful licensing veterinary medical authority;

(6) Engaged in any unprofessional, immoral, unethical, deceptive, or deleterious conduct or practice harmful to the public. Unprofessional conduct includes any failure to conform to the minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing veterinary medical practice or veterinary technology practice and shall also include, but not be limited to, the failure to keep veterinary facility premises and equipment in a clean and sanitary condition; dishonesty or gross negligence in the inspection of foodstuffs or the issuance of health or inspection certificates; or cruelty to animals;

(7) Knowingly performed any act which in any way aids, assists, procures, advises, or encourages any unlicensed person to practice or practice outside the scope of any disciplinary limitation placed upon the licensee by the board;

(8) Violated a statute, law, or any rule or regulation of this state, any other state, the board, the United States, or any other lawful authority;

(9) Been adjudged mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction within or without this state. 

(10) Displayed an inability to practice veterinary medicine or veterinary technology with reasonable skill and safety to animal patients or has become unable to practice veterinary medicine or veterinary technology with reasonable skill and safety to animal patients by reason of illness, use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or any other type of material; as a result of any mental or physical condition; or by reason of displaying habitual intoxication, addiction to, or recurrent personal misuse of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or any other type of similar substances. In enforcing this paragraph, the board may, upon reasonable grounds, require a licensee or applicant to submit to a mental or physical examination by physicians designated by the board. 

(11) Failed to register with the division director as required by law. It shall be the duty of every licensee to notify the board of any change in his or her address of record with the board;

(12) Engaged in the excessive prescribing or administering of drugs or treatment or the use of diagnostic procedures which are detrimental to the animal patient as determined by the customary practice and standards of the local community of licensees; knowingly prescribed controlled drug substances or any other medication without a legitimate veterinary medical purpose; or knowingly over prescribed controlled drug substances or other medication, in light of the condition of the animal patient at the time of prescription;

(13) Knowingly made any fraudulent, misleading, or deceptive statement in any form of advertising concerning the quality of the veterinary services rendered by that licensed veterinarian or any licensed veterinarian associated with him or her, or the qualifications of said veterinarian. 

(14) Used, prescribed, or sold any veterinary prescription drug or prescribed an extra-label use of any drug in the absence of a valid veterinarian-client-animal patient relationship; or 

(15) Has had his or her United States Drug Enforcement Administration privileges restricted or revoked.

  • Establish standards for veterinary facilities and equipment and can promulgate rules regarding both. 


  • Have the authority to establish a method to monitor  veterinary facilities, conduct investigations and  hold proceedings related to alleged violations, and take necessary enforcement action against the license of a veterinarian or licensed veterinary technicians for violations of rules. [43-50-90.(b)]

Those are the major responsibilities and powers of the State Board. As we have excerpted these from the code for the brevity of this article, please see the entire Practice Act on the GVMA website for the complete version.