43-50-1. Short Title
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Georgia Veterinary Practice Act.”
HISTORY: Code 1933, § 84-1501, enacted by Ga. L. 1965, p. 92, § 1; Ga. L. 1999, p. 81, § 43; Ga. L. 2003, p. 615, § 1-1; Ga. L. 2018, p. hb0956, § 3/HB 956.
43-50-2. Legislative purpose
It is the purpose of this chapter to promote, preserve, and protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the people of this state by and through the effective control and regulation of persons who are licensed veterinarians and licensed veterinary technicians in this state; to provide a uniform state-wide regulatory scheme to be enforced by the board through the Georgia Veterinary Practice Act; and to provide the board with oversight of the persons practicing veterinary medicine within this state.
HISTORY: Ga. L. 1965, p. 92, § 1; Ga. L. 2003, p. 615, § 1-1; Ga. L. 2018, p. 770, § 3/HB 956.
As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) “Accredited college or school of veterinary medicine” means any veterinary college or school or division of a university or college that offers the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or its equivalent and that conforms to the standards required for accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education or its successor organization.
(2) “Accredited program in veterinary technology” means any postsecondary educational program of two or more academic years that has fulfilled the essential criteria established by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities and approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association or its successor organization.
(3) ‘Animal’ means any animal other than human and includes fowl, birds, fish, and reptiles, wild or domestic, living or dead.
(4) ‘Animal patient’ means an animal or group of animals examined or treated by a licensed veterinarian.
(5) ‘Animal shelter’ means a public or private humane society, animal shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, animal protection or control agency, rescue group, or other similar organization, that provides shelter and care for homeless animals.
(6) ‘Approved program of continuing education’ means an educational program approved by the board or offered by an approved provider of continuing education.
(7) ‘Approved provider of continuing education’ means any individual, university, or college, or other entity that has met the requirements of the board to provide educational courses that are designed to assure continued competence in the practice of veterinary medicine or veterinary technology.
(8) “Board” means the State Board of Veterinary Medicine.
(9) ‘Client’ means a person who has engaged the service of a licensed veterinarian for the care of an animal within their scope of control as an owner or caretaker of such animal.
(10) ‘Complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies’ means a heterogeneous group of preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic philosophies and practices that include, but are not limited to, veterinary acupuncture, acutherapy, and acupressure; veterinary homeopathy; veterinary manual or manipulative therapy; veterinary nutraceutical therapy; and veterinary phytotherapy.
(11) ‘Consultation’ means the act of a licensed veterinarian receiving advice in person, telephonically, electronically, or by any other method of communication from a veterinarian licensed in this or any other state or other person whose expertise, in the opinion of the licensed veterinarian, may benefit an animal patient.
(12) ‘Continuing education’ means training which is designed to assure continued competence in the practice of veterinary medicine or veterinary technology.
(13) ‘Direct supervision’ means oversight by a licensed veterinarian located on the same premises where an animal is being treated, who is quickly and easily available.
(14) “ECFVG certificate or its substantial equivalent” means a certificate issued by the American Veterinary Medical Association Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates or its successor organization indicating the holder has demonstrated knowledge and skill equivalent to that possessed by a graduate of an accredited college of veterinary medicine.
(15) ‘Extralabel use’ means the actual use or intended use of a drug in an animal in a manner that is not in accordance with the approved labeling. This includes, but is not limited to, use in species not listed in the labeling; use for indications, disease, or other conditions not listed in the labeling; use at dosage levels, frequencies, or routes of administration other than those stated in the labeling; and deviation from the labeled withdrawal time based on such different uses.
(16) ‘Food animal’ means any animal that is raised for the production of an edible product intended for consumption by humans or is itself intended for consumption. Such term shall include, but is not limited to, eggs, cattle, beef or dairy, swine, sheep, goats, poultry, nonornamental fish, and any other animal designated by the veterinarian as a food animal.
(17) “Immediate supervision” means oversight by a licensed veterinarian located in the immediate area and within audible and visual range of the animal patient and the person treating the animal patient.
(18) ”Indirect supervision’ means oversight by a licensed veterinarian not required to be on the premises but when such licensed veterinarian has given either written or oral instructions for the treatment of the animal patient and is readily available by telephone or other forms of immediate communication.
(19) ‘Informed consent’ means the veterinarian has presented treatment options, and made reasonable efforts to inform the client, verbally or in writing, of the diagnostic and treatment options, risk assessment, and prognosis, which are appropriate and probable for the case in the veterinarian’s judgment following the standard of care, which the veterinarian agrees to provide and the client consents to have performed.
(20) “Licensed veterinarian” means a person who is validly and currently licensed to practice veterinary medicine in this state.
(21) ‘Livestock’ means farm animals, animals that produce tangible personal property for sale, or animals that are processed, manufactured, or converted into articles of tangible personal property for sale or consumption. The term does not include living animals that are commonly regarded as domestic pets or companion animals.
(22) ‘Mobile veterinary clinic’ means a mobile unit in which veterinary services are provided to an animal that is treated inside the mobile unit. The term does not include the use of a motor vehicle by a veterinarian to travel to treat the client’s animal or the use of a motor vehicle for animal ambulatory practice.
(23) ‘PAVE certificate or its substantial equivalent’ means a certificate issued by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards or its successor organization indicating the holder has demonstrated knowledge and skill equivalent to that possessed by a graduate of an accredited college of veterinary medicine.
(24) “Person” means any individual, firm, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, cooperative, and corporation or any other group or combination acting in concert; and whether or not acting as a principal, trustee, fiduciary, receiver, or as any other kind of legal or personal representative, or as the successor in interest, assignee, agent, factor, servant, employee, member, director, officer, or any other representative of such person.
(25) “Practice veterinary medicine” or “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 prescribing, administration, or dispensing of any prescription drug, medicine, biologic, apparatus, application, anesthetic, or other therapeutic or diagnostic substance or technique on, for, or to any animal, including but not limited to the use of complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies, animal dentistry, manual or mechanical adjustment procedures, physical therapy, rehabilitation, surgery, diagnostic veterinary pathology, any manual, mechanical, biological, or chemical procedure used for pregnancy testing or for correcting sterility or infertility, or to render advice or recommendations with regard to any of the above; but not including such administration or dispensing pursuant to prescription or direction of a licensed veterinarian;
(B) (i) To apply or use any instrument or device on any portion of an animal’s tooth, gum, or any related tissue for the prevention, cure, or relief of any wound, fracture, injury, disease, or other condition of an animal’s tooth, gum, or related tissue.
(ii) To engage in preventive dental procedures on animals including, but not limited to, the removal of calculus, soft deposits, plaque, or stains or the smoothing, filing, or polishing of tooth surfaces.
(iii) Nothing in this subparagraph shall prohibit any person from utilizing cotton swabs, gauze, dental floss, dentifrice, toothbrushes, or similar items to clean an animal’s teeth;
(C) To represent, directly or indirectly, publicly or privately, an ability and willingness to do any act described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph;
(D) To use any title, words, abbreviation, or letters in a manner or under circumstances which induce the belief that the person using them is legally authorized or qualified to perform an act included in this paragraph. Such use shall be evidence of the intention to represent oneself as engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine;
(E) To apply principles of environmental sanitation, food inspection, environmental pollution control, zoonotic disease control, and disaster medicine in the promotion and protection of public health as it specifically relates to animals. This subparagraph shall apply only to licensed veterinarians and not to other qualified persons;
(F) To collect blood or other samples for the purpose of diagnosing diseases or related conditions. This subparagraph shall not apply to unlicensed professionals employed by or under contract with the United States Department of Agriculture or the Georgia Department of Agriculture who are engaged in their official duties; or
(G) To administer a rabies vaccination to any animal that the state requires to be vaccinated.
(26) ‘Practice veterinary technology’ or ‘veterinary technology’ means:
(A) To perform animal patient care or other services that require a technical understanding of veterinary medicine by a licensed veterinary technician on the basis of written or oral instruction of a licensed veterinarian, excluding diagnosing, prognosing, performing surgery, prescribing, or dispensing;
(B) To represent, directly or indirectly, publicly or privately, an ability and willingness to engage in any act described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph; or
(C) To use any title, words, abbreviation, or letters, while engaged in the practice of licensed veterinary technology, in a manner or under circumstances that induce the belief that the person using them is qualified to engage in an act included in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.
(27) “Prescription drug” includes any medicine, medication, or pharmaceutical or biological product whose manufacturer’s label must, pursuant to federal or state law, have the following statement printed on its packaging: “Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian”; or any over-the-counter product that is used in a manner different from the label directions and that by definition requires a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship for prescribing or dispensing.
(28) “Veterinarian” means a person who has received a doctorate degree in veterinary medicine from a college or school of veterinary medicine.
(29) “Veterinarian-client-patient relationship” means that:
(A) The licensed veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making medical judgments regarding the health of the animal and the need for medical treatment, and the client has given informed consent for services provided by the licensed veterinarian;
(B) There is sufficient knowledge of the animal by the licensed veterinarian to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal. This means that the licensed veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal by the virtue of examination of the animal or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal is kept or by medically appropriate and timely visits by the licensed veterinarian to premises within an operation or production system where the animal or groups of animals are kept;
(C) A licensed veterinarian is readily available for follow up care or consultation or has arranged for:
(i) Veterinary emergency coverage; and
(ii) Continuing care and treatment by another licensed veterinarian, including providing a copy of associated records during normal business hours; and
(D) The licensed veterinarian develops and maintains appropriate medical records.
(30) “Veterinary assistant” means a person who has been delegated by a licensed veterinarian to engage in certain aspects of the practice of veterinary technology but is not licensed by the board for such purpose.
(31) “Veterinary facility” means any premises owned or operated by a veterinarian or his or her employer where the practice of veterinary medicine occurs, including but not limited to veterinary hospitals, clinics, or mobile clinics; provided, however, that such term does not include a client’s private property where a licensed veterinarian treats the client’s animals.
(32) (A) ‘Veterinary feed directive’ means a written statement issued by a licensed veterinarian in the course of the veterinarian’s professional practice that orders the use of a VFD drug or combination VFD drug in or on animal feed. This written statement authorizes the client to obtain and use animal feed bearing or containing a VFD drug or combination VFD drug to treat such animals only in accordance with the conditions for use approved, conditionally approved, or indexed by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
(B) As used in this paragraph, the term:
(i) ‘Combination VFD’ means a combination new animal drug, as defined in Section 514.4(c)(1)(i) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, intended for use in or on animal feed which is limited by an approved application filed under Section 512(b) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, a conditionally approved application filed under Section 571 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or an index listing under Section 572 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to use under the professional supervision of a licensed veterinarian, and at least one of the new animal drugs in the combination is a VFD drug. Use of animal feed bearing or containing a combination VFD drug must be authorized by a lawful veterinary feed directive.
(ii) ‘VFD drug’ means a drug intended for use in or on animal feed which is limited by an approved application filed pursuant to Section 512(b) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, a conditionally approved application filed pursuant to Section 571 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, or an index listing under Section 572 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, to use under the professional supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Use of animal feed bearing or containing a VFD drug must be authorized by a lawful veterinary feed directive.
(33) “Veterinary technician” means a licensed person who engages in the practice of veterinary technology and on the basis of his or her qualifications is validly and currently licensed by the board for such purpose.
(34) “Veterinary technology” means the science and art of providing certain aspects of professional medical care and treatment for animals and the practice of veterinary medicine as may be delegated and supervised by a licensed veterinarian and performed by a person who is not a licensed veterinarian.
HISTORY: Ga. L. 1908, p. 88, § 6; Civil Code 1910, § 2062; Code 1933, § 84-1501; Ga. L. 1962, p. 543, § 1; Code 1933, § 84-1502, enacted by Ga. L. 1965, p. 92, § 1; Ga. L. 1991, p. 375, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 6, § 43; Ga. L. 1993, p. 123, § 63; Ga. L. 2003, p. 615, § 1-1; Ga. L. 2006, p. 30, § 1/HB 999; Ga. L. 2016, p. 384, § 1/HB 800; Ga. L. 2018, p. 770, § 3/HB 956.