Professions and Occupations

CHAPTER 33. Veterinarians

Subchapter I. General Terms

§ 3300. Short title.

This chapter shall be known as the “Delaware Veterinary Practice Act.”

24 Del. C. 1953, §  3301;  57 Del. Laws, c. 17875 Del. Laws, c. 295, §  1

§ 3301. Objectives of Board.

The primary objective of the Board of Veterinary Medicine, to which all other objectives and purposes are secondary, is to protect the general public (specifically those persons who are direct recipients of services regulated by this chapter) from unsafe practices, and from occupational practices which tend to reduce competition or fix the price of services rendered. The secondary objectives of the Board are to maintain minimum standards of practitioner competency, and to maintain certain standards in the delivery of services to the public. In meeting its objectives, the Board shall develop standards assuring professional competence; shall monitor complaints brought against practitioners regulated by the Board; shall adjudicate at formal complaints hearings; shall promulgate rules and regulations; and shall impose sanctions where necessary against practitioners, both licensed and formerly licensed.

63 Del. Laws, c. 460, §  172 Del. Laws, c. 207, §  175 Del. Laws, c. 295, §  1

§ 3302. Definitions.

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter shall have the meanings ascribed to them under this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

(1) “Accredited veterinary medicine school” shall mean any veterinary college 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 (AVMA).

(2) “Animal” shall mean any animal other than man or woman, and includes fowl, birds, fish and reptiles, wild or domestic, living or dead.

(3) “Board” shall mean the State Board of Veterinary Medicine established in this chapter.

(4) “Division” shall mean the state Division of Professional Regulation.

(5) “Practice of veterinary medicine” shall mean:

a. To diagnose, prognose, 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, for testing for pregnancy or for correcting sterility or infertility, or to render advice or recommendation with regard to any of the above;

b. To represent directly or indirectly, publicly or privately, an ability and willingness to do any act described in paragraph (5)a. of this section;

c. To use any title, words, abbreviation or letters in a manner or under circumstances, which induce the belief that the person using them is qualified to do any act, described in paragraph (5)a. of this section, except where such person is a veterinarian.

(6) “State” shall mean the State of Delaware.

(7) “Substantially related” means the nature of the criminal conduct, for which the person was convicted, has a direct bearing on the fitness or ability to perform 1 or more of the duties or responsibilities necessarily related to the practice of veterinary medicine.

(8) “Veterinarian” shall mean a person who has received a degree in veterinary medicine from a school of veterinary medicine.

(9) “Veterinary medicine” shall include veterinary surgery, obstetrics, dentistry and all other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine.

(10) “Veterinary technician” shall mean a person who has received a degree from a veterinary technician program or its equivalent.

4 Del. C. 1953, §  3302;  57 Del. Laws, c. 17870 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  172 Del. Laws, c. 207, §  274 Del. Laws, c. 262, §  6875 Del. Laws, c. 295, §§  2-6

§ 3303. License requirement and exceptions.

A person may not practice veterinary medicine in this State unless the person is a Delaware-licensed veterinarian.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  3303;  57 Del. Laws, c. 17870 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  172 Del. Laws, c. 207, §§  3, 475 Del. Laws, c. 295, §  775 Del. Laws, c. 295, §§  7-1184 Del. Laws, c. 232, § 1

§ 3303A. Veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

(a) For a veterinarian to practice veterinary medicine, a veterinarian-client-patient relationship must be established and maintained. Except as provided under subsection (b) of this section, a veterinarian-client-patient relationship is established and maintained if all of the following are met:

(1) The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making medical judgements regarding the health of the patient and the client has agreed to follow the veterinarian’s instructions.

(2) The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the patient to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the patient. This means that the veterinarian is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the patient by virtue of a timely examination of the patient, or medically-appropriate and timely visits to the operation where the patient is managed.

(3) The veterinarian is readily available for follow-up evaluation or has arranged for the following: veterinary emergency coverage and continuing care and treatment.

(4) The veterinarian provides oversite of treatment, compliance, and outcome.

(5) Patient records are maintained.

(b) In operations where there are several animals, such as shelters, farms, laboratories, or zoos, the veterinarian-client-patient requirement may be established and maintained by 1 of the following:

(1) Examination of health, laboratory, or production records.

(2) Consultation with owners, managers, directors, caretakers, or other supervisory staff who oversee the health-care management of the operation.

(3) Maintenance of information regarding the local epidemiology of diseases for the appropriate species.

84 Del. Laws, c. 232, § 2

§ 3303B. Exemptions.

This chapter may not be construed to prohibit any of the following:

(1) An employee of the federal, state, or local government performing official duties.

(2) A person who is a regular student in a veterinary school or veterinary technician program performing duties or actions assigned by instructors, or working under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian during the school vacation period.

(3) A person advising with respect to or performing acts which the Board rule has or has not prescribed as accepted livestock management practices.

(4) A veterinarian regularly licensed in another state consulting with a licensed veterinarian in this State.

(5) Any merchant or manufacturer selling at the merchant’s or manufacturer’s regular place of business medicines, feed, appliances, or other products used in the prevention or treatment of animal diseases.

(6) The owner of an animal and the owner’s employee caring for and treating the animal belonging to the owner, except where the ownership of the animal was transferred for purposes of circumventing this chapter.

(7) A member of the faculty of a veterinary school performing regular functions, or a person lecturing or giving instructions or demonstrations at a veterinary school or in connection with a continuing education course or seminar.

(8) Any person selling or applying any pesticide, insecticide, or herbicide.

(9) Any person engaging in bona fide scientific research which reasonably requires experimentation involving animals.

(10) Any person from performing support activities under the supervision, as determined by regulations adopted by the Board, of a Delaware-licensed veterinarian. The support activities must not include diagnosing, prognosing, prescribing, inducing anesthesia, performing surgery, or other support activities as defined in regulations adopted by the Board.

(11) A licensed veterinary technician from performing support activities under the supervision, as determined by regulations adopted by the Board, of a Delaware-licensed veterinarian. The support activities must not include diagnosing, prognosing, prescribing, performing surgery, or other support activities as defined in regulations adopted by the Board.

(12) a. A veterinarian or a veterinary technician who is licensed in another state, and who is in good standing in the other state, providing services during an emergency or natural disaster within the scope and location of assigned veterinary medical duties of the response efforts if all of the following apply:

1. An official declaration of the disaster or emergency has been made by the governor or the delegated state official.

2. An official invitation has been extended to the veterinarian or veterinary technician for a specified time by the authority that has jurisdiction for coordinating the animal or agricultural issues in this State during emergencies.

b. A person practicing as a veterinarian or veterinary technician in this State under this paragraph (12) is subject to the personal and subject matter jurisdiction and disciplinary and regulatory authority of the Board. The person shall comply with applicable provisions of the laws, rules, and regulations of the Board.

84 Del. Laws, c. 232, § 3

§ 3304. Board of Veterinary Medicine — Appointment; composition; qualifications; term of office; suspension or removal; compensation.

(a) There is created a State Board of Veterinary Medicine which shall administer and enforce this chapter.

(b) The Board of Veterinary Medicine shall consist of 7 members appointed by the Governor: 3 professional members who shall be licensed veterinarians; 2 professional members who shall be licensed veterinary technicians appointed so that the terms of the 2 newly appointed veterinary technicians do not expire in the same year; and 2 public members. To serve on the Board, a public member shall not be nor ever have been a veterinarian or veterinary technician, nor a member of the immediate family of a veterinarian or veterinary technician; shall not have been employed by a veterinarian or veterinary technician; shall not have had a material financial interest in the providing of goods and services to veterinarian or veterinary technicians nor have been engaged in an activity directly related to veterinary medicine or veterinary technicians. Such public member shall be accessible to inquiries, comments and suggestions from the general public.

(c) Each member shall serve for a term of 3 years and may successively serve for 1 additional term; provided, however, that where a member was initially appointed to fill a vacancy, such member may successively serve for only 1 additional full term. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term of the former member. Each term of office shall expire on the date specified in the appointment; however, the Board member shall remain eligible to participate in Board proceedings unless and until replaced by the Governor.

(d) A person who has never served on the Board may be appointed to the Board 2 consecutive times, but no such person shall thereafter be eligible for 2 consecutive appointments. No person who has been twice appointed to the Board, or who has served on the Board for 6 years within any 9-year period, shall again be appointed to the Board until an interim period of at least 1 term has expired since such person last served.

(e) Any act or vote by a person appointed in violation of subsection (c) of this section shall be invalid. An amendment or revision of this chapter is not sufficient cause for any appointment or attempted appointment in violation of subsection (c) of this section, unless such amendment or revision amends this section to permit such an appointment.

(f) A member of the Board shall be suspended or removed by the Governor for misfeasance, nonfeasance or malfeasance. A member subject to disciplinary proceedings shall be disqualified from Board business until the charge is adjudicated or the matter is otherwise concluded. A Board member may appeal any suspension or removal to the Superior Court.

(g) No member of the Board, while serving on the Board, shall hold elective office in any state or national professional association of veterinarians or veterinary technicians. Board members are prohibited from serving as an officer of their professional association’s Political Action Committee (PAC).

(h) The provisions set forth in Chapter 58 of Title 29 shall apply to all members of the Board.

(i) Each Board member shall be reimbursed for all expenses involved in each meeting, including travel; and in addition shall receive compensation per meeting attended in an amount determined by the Division in accordance with Del. Const. art. III, §  9.

22 Del. Laws, c. 364, §  3;  Code 1915, §  730;  Code 1935, §  738;  24 Del. C. 1953, §  3304;  57 Del. Laws, c. 17863 Del. Laws, c. 460, §  264 Del. Laws, c. 448, §§  1, 1067 Del. Laws, c. 368, §  2170 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  172 Del. Laws, c. 207, §§  5-1075 Del. Laws, c. 295, §§  12, 1381 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 17

§ 3305. Board of Veterinary Medicine — Officers; meetings; quorum.

(a) In the same month of each year, the members shall elect, from among their number, a President and a Vice President. Each officer shall serve for 1 year and may successively serve in the same office for 1 additional year.

(b) The Board shall hold regularly scheduled business meetings at least once in each quarter of a calendar year, and at such other times as the President deems necessary; or at the request of a majority of Board members. Special or emergency meetings may be held without notice provided a quorum is present.

(c) A majority of members shall constitute a quorum; and no action shall be taken without the affirmative vote of at least 4 members. Any member who fails to attend 3 consecutive meetings, or who fails to attend at least 1/2 of all regular business meetings during any calendar year, shall automatically upon such occurrence be deemed to have resigned from office and a replacement shall be appointed.

(d) Minutes of all meetings shall be recorded, and copies shall be maintained by the Division of Professional Regulation. At any hearing where evidence is presented, a record from which a verbatim transcript can be prepared shall be made. The expense of preparing any transcript shall be incurred by the person requesting it.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  3304A;  57 Del. Laws, c. 17863 Del. Laws, c. 460, §  364 Del. Laws, c. 117, §  265 Del. Laws, c. 355, §  168 Del. Laws, c. 244, §  170 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  172 Del. Laws, c. 207, §  1175 Del. Laws, c. 295, §  14

§ 3306. Board of Veterinary Medicine — Powers and duties.

(a) The Board of Veterinary Medicine shall have authority to:

(1) Formulate rules and regulations, with appropriate notice to those affected, where such notice can reasonably be given; all rules and regulations shall be promulgated in accordance with the procedures specified in the Administrative Procedures Act [Chapter 101 of Title 29] of this State. Each rule or regulation shall implement or clarify a specific section of this chapter;

(2) Designate the application form to be used by all applicants, and process all applications; however, no application form shall require a picture of the applicant, nor require information relating to citizenship, place or date of birth, length of state residency, marital status, professional association memberships, moral character or require personal or professional references;

(3) Designate the written national examinations for veterinarians and veterinary technicians, prepared by either the applicable national professional association or by a recognized legitimate national testing service, and determine whether applicants are qualified to take such examinations. The examinations shall be prepared for testing on a national basis, and not specifically prepared at the request of the Board for its individual use. Veterinarians and veterinary technicians applying for licensure shall take the applicable national examination; and both applicants who qualify for original licensure and licensure by reciprocity shall have achieved the passing score on the national examination;

(4) Evaluate the credentials of all persons applying for a license to practice veterinary medicine or as a veterinary technician in Delaware in order to determine whether such persons meet the qualifications for licensing set forth in this chapter;

(5) Grant licenses to, and renew licenses of, all persons who meet the qualifications for licensure and/or renewal of licenses;

(6) Establish by rule and regulation continuing education standards required for license renewal;

(7) Evaluate certified records to determine whether an applicant for licensure, who has been previously licensed, certified, or registered in another jurisdiction to practice veterinary medicine or as a veterinary technician, has engaged in any act or offense that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this chapter and whether there are disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against such applicants for such acts or offenses;

(8) Refer all complaints from licensees and the public concerning licensed veterinarians or veterinary technicians, or concerning practices of the Board or of the professions, to the Division for investigation pursuant to § 8735 of Title 29; and, assign a member of the Board to assist the Division in an advisory capacity with the investigation of the technical aspects of the complaint;

(9) Conduct hearings and issue orders in accordance with procedures established pursuant to Chapter 101 of Title 29;

(10) Where it has been determined after a disciplinary hearing that penalties or sanctions should be imposed, to designate and impose the appropriate sanction or penalty.

(b) The Board may require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and production of papers, records or other documentary evidence.

(c) The Board of Veterinary Medicine shall promulgate regulations specifically identifying those crimes which are substantially related to the practice of veterinary medicine.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  3304B;  57 Del. Laws, c. 17863 Del. Laws, c. 460, §  468 Del. Laws, c. 244, §  272 Del. Laws, c. 207, §§  12-1674 Del. Laws, c. 262, §  6975 Del. Laws, c. 295, §§  15-1984 Del. Laws, c. 232, § 4

§ 3307. Records.

The Division of Professional Regulation shall keep a register of all approved applications for license as a veterinarian or veterinary technician, and complete records relating to meetings of the Board, examinations, rosters, changes and additions to the Board’s rules and regulations, complaints, hearings and such other matters as the Board shall determine. Such records shall be prima facie evidence of the proceedings of the Board.

72 Del. Laws, c. 207, §  1875 Del. Laws, c. 295, §  21

§ 3308. Fees.

The amount to be charged for each fee imposed under this chapter shall approximate and reasonably reflect all costs necessary to defray the expenses of the Board, as well as the proportional expenses incurred by the Division of Professional Regulation in its services on behalf of the Board. There shall be a separate fee charged for each service or activity, but no fee shall be charged for an activity not specified in this chapter. The application fee shall not be combined with any other fee or charge. At the beginning of each licensure biennium the Division of Professional Regulation, or any other state agency acting in its behalf, shall compute, for each separate service or activity, the appropriate fee for the licensure biennium.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  3308;  57 Del. Laws, c. 17863 Del. Laws, c. 460, §  865 Del. Laws, c. 355, §  172 Del. Laws, c. 207, §§  20-2375 Del. Laws, c. 295, §  23

§ 3309. Issuance of license; renewal; inactive status; reinstatement.

(a) The Board shall issue a license to each applicant, who meets the requirements of this chapter for licensure as a veterinarian or as a veterinary technician, and who pays the fee established under § 3308 of this title.

(b) Each license shall be renewed biennially upon submission of a renewal application provided by the Board along with the evidence of continuing education courses, unless waived by the board, as may be required by the rules and regulations set forth by the Board and payment of the renewal fee as determined by the Division of Professional Regulation. The Board shall, in its rules and regulations, determine the period of time within which a practitioner may still renew the license, notwithstanding the fact that such practitioner has failed to renew on or before the renewal date; provided, however, that such period shall not exceed 1 year. At the expiration of the period designated by the Board, the license shall be deemed to be lapsed and not renewable, unless the former licensee reapplies under the same conditions which govern reciprocity.

(c) A licensee, upon written request, may be placed in an inactive status. The renewal fee of such person shall be prorated in accordance with the amount of time such person was inactive. Such person may reenter practice upon written notification to the Board of the intent to do so and completion of continuing education as required in the Board’s rules and regulations.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  3309;  57 Del. Laws, c. 17863 Del. Laws, c. 460, §  964 Del. Laws, c. 163, §  164 Del. Laws, c. 448, §§  4-965 Del. Laws, c. 355, §  167 Del. Laws, c. 145, §§  2-470 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  172 Del. Laws, c. 207, §§  24-2975 Del. Laws, c. 295, §  24

§ 3310. Complaints.

Anyone desiring to file a complaint against any person practicing veterinary medicine shall file a written complaint with the Division of Professional Regulation. All complaints shall be received and investigated by the Division of Professional Regulation in accordance with § 8735 of Title 29 of the Delaware Code, and the Division shall be responsible for issuing a final written report at the conclusion of its investigation.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  3310;  57 Del. Laws, c. 17863 Del. Laws, c. 460, §  1065 Del. Laws, c. 355, §  172 Del. Laws, c. 207, §  3075 Del. Laws, c. 295, §  25

§ 3311. Hearing procedures.

(a) If a complaint is filed with the Board pursuant to § 8735 of Title 29, alleging violation of § 3316 or § 3321 of this title, the Board shall set a time and place to conduct a hearing on the complaint. Notice of the hearing shall be given and the hearing conducted in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act, Chapter 101 of Title 29.

(b) All hearings shall be informal without use of rules of evidence. If the Board finds, by a majority vote of all members, that the complaint has merit, the Board shall take such action permitted under this chapter, as it deems necessary. The Board’s decision shall be in writing and shall include its reasons for such decision. The Board’s decision shall be mailed immediately to the licensee.

(c) Where the licensee is in disagreement with the action of the Board, the licensee may appeal the Board’s decision to the Superior Court within 30 days of service, or of the postmarked date of the copy of the decision mailed to the licensee. Upon such appeal the Court shall hear the evidence on the record. Stays shall be granted in accordance with § 10144 of Title 29.

24 Del. C. 1953, §  3313;  57 Del. Laws, c. 17863 Del. Laws, c. 460, §  1365 Del. Laws, c. 323, §  172 Del. Laws, c. 207, §  3275 Del. Laws, c. 295, §  28

§ 3312. Reinstatement of a suspended license; removal from probationary status.

(a) As a condition to reinstatement of a suspended license, or removal from probationary status, the Board may reinstate such license if, after a hearing, the Board is satisfied that the licensee has taken the prescribed corrective actions and otherwise satisfied all of the conditions of the suspension and/or the probation.

(b) Applicants for reinstatement must pay the appropriate fees and submit documentation required by the Board as evidence that all the conditions of a suspension and/or probation have been met. Proof that the applicant has met the continuing education requirements of this chapter may also be required, as appropriate.

(c) [Repealed.]

24 Del. C. 1953, §  3315;  57 Del. Laws, c. 17870 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  172 Del. Laws, c. 207, §  3475 Del. Laws, c. 295, §  3082 Del. Laws, c. 8, § 14