43-50-1. Short Title
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Georgia Veterinary Practice Act.”
Laws 1965, p. 92, § 1; Laws 1999, p. 81, § 43; Laws 2003, Act 257, § 1-1, eff. July 1, 2003.
43-50-2. Legislative purpose
This chapter is enacted as an exercise of the powers of the state to promote the public health, safety, and welfare by safeguarding the people of this state against incompetent, dishonest, or unprincipled practitioners of veterinary medicine or veterinary technology.
Laws 1965, p. 92, § 1; Laws 2003, Act 257, § 1-1, eff. July 1, 2003.
(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) “Animal” means any animal other than man and includes fowl, birds, fish, and reptiles, wild or domestic, living or dead.
(3) “AVMA 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.
(4) “Board” means the State Board of Veterinary Medicine.
(5) “Direct supervision” means that the licensed veterinarian is on the premises and is quickly and easily available and that the animal patient has been examined by a licensed veterinarian at such time as acceptable veterinary medical practice requires, consistent with the particular delegated animal health care task.
(6) “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.
(7) “Immediate supervision” means the licensed veterinarian is in audible and visual range of the animal patient and the person treating the animal.
(8) “Indirect supervision” means the licensed veterinarian is not on the premises but has given either written or oral instructions for the treatment of the animal patient and the animal has been examined by a licensed veterinarian at such times as acceptable veterinary medical practice requires, consistent with the particular delegated health care task.
(9) “Licensed veterinarian” means a person who is validly and currently licensed to practice veterinary medicine in this state.
(10) “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.
(11) “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 prescription, 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 acupuncture, animal dentistry, manual or mechanical adjustment procedures, physical therapy, 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 individuals;
(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.
(12) “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 prescription or dispensing.
(14) “Veterinarian” means a person who has received a doctorate degree in veterinary medicine from a college or school of veterinary medicine.
(15) “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 (owner or caretaker) has agreed to follow the instruction of 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; and
(C) A licensed veterinarian is readily available for follow up in the case of adverse reactions or failure of the regimen of therapy.
(15.1) “Veterinary assistant” means a person who engages in certain aspects of the practice of veterinary technology but is not registered by the board for such purpose.
(16) “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.
(17) “Veterinary medicine” includes veterinary surgery, obstetrics, dentistry, and all other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine.
(18) “Veterinary technician” means a person who engages in the practice of veterinary technology and on the basis of his or her qualifications is validly and currently registered by the board for such purpose.
(19) “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.