Call us at: 919-521-8810

Professional License Tips for Veterinarians in North Carolina

Veterinarians do much more than provide essential medical care for our beloved pets. Veterinary medicine has been in practice ever since people started herding animals.  The first veterinary school was founded in Lyon, France in 1762 to help combat a plague on the country’s cattle.  North Carolina is an agriculture-rich state with a need for top quality veterinarians.  Luckily, North Carolina is home to one of the best veterinary colleges in the United States.  In today’s blog we will discuss who requires veterinarians to have a professional license, what to do with an abandoned pet, how to protect your license and working for the zoo.

WHO ISSUES AND REGULATES VETERINARY LICENSES?

Veterinarians are required by the NC Board of Veterinary Medicine to have a license.  The Board derives its authority from N.C.G.S. §90-182.  That statute created the Board and requires that the Board consist of eight members.  The eight members are broken up as follows.  Four members, with 5 or more years of licensed experience in NC are appointed by the Governor.  The Governor also appoints one member who is not licensed as a vet and represents the public at large.  One member is appointed by the General Assembly upon recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.  Those are licensed veterinarians with at least five years of experience as a veterinarian in NC.  One Board member shall be a licensed veterinarian appointed by the G.A. upon recommendation of the Speaker of the House.  That veterinarian must also have at least five years’ experience as a vet in NC.  The last Board member is appointed biennially by the Commissioner of Agriculture on North Carolina.  N.C.G.S. §90-187.8 allows the Board to impose discipline on licensed veterinarians.  The Board can only discipline a licensee if a violation of a standard of conduct occurs or the Board has grounds to act under NGSC 90-187.8(c).

WHAT IS THE PROCESS WHEN I AM ACCUSED OF VIOLATING A RULE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT?

Chapter 66 of the NC Administrative Code are the rules set forth by the Veterinary Medicine Board.  These administrative codes cover things such as disciplinary conduct, hearings, and forms of veterinary practice, just to name a few.  Licensed veterinarians accused of misconduct by the Board will receive a reprimand in the mail.  Within 15 days of receipt of the reprimand, the licensee can request a notice of hearing be issued by the Board.  This notice is sent by certified mail to the licensee’s last known address.  It is the licensee’s responsibility to make sure the Board has an updated address.  If a licensee is untimely in their request for a notice of hearing, they will lose their right to a hearing.  Keeping the hearing as an option allows a licensee to continue to come to an amicable resolution with the Board, if possible.  Failing to properly request a hearing eliminates the licensee’s participation in the process.  Make sure to contact an attorney who handles license matters so you can have a plan going forward.

WHAT DO I DO WHEN A CLIENT ABANDONS THEIR PET AT MY OFFICE?

First, a vet is required to give notice to a pet’s owner that the pet has been abandoned at the office.  The notice to the pet’s owner must be by certified mail.  This can only be initiated if 10 or more days have elapsed since the time the owner was supposed to claim their pet.  The animal can be turned over to the nearest human society or disposed of as the vet deems proper.  NCGS 90-187.7(b) states that a licensed vet is relieved of liability for removal of the animal if they have complied with the notice requirement.  Abandonment is defined as “to forsake entirely, or to neglect or refuse to provide or perform the legal obligations for care and support of an animal by its owner, or his agent.”  The Board requires all vets to follow the above procedure for dealing with abandoned animals.  Some offices have standard policies and procedures that they give to their clients.  Having a policy that outlines this abandonment process could save you some hassle in the future.

DO I NEED A VETERINARY LICENSE TO WORK FOR THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE ZOO?

This answer really depends on the NC Veterinary Medicine Board.  The Board can issue a specific veterinary faculty certificate or zoo veterinary certificate instead of a veterinary license.  NCGS 90-187.14 is the authority for these unique certificates.

WHAT’S THE DRAWBACK TO HAVING A FACULTY OR ZOO CERTIFICATE INSTEAD OF A VETERINARIAN LICENSE?

The drawback is that you cannot work as a veterinarian outside of the school or zoo where you have your certificate.  This means you would lack leverage with an employer and could only work in specific locations that care for animals.

WHAT’S THE BENEFIT OF HAVING A FACULTY OR ZOO CERTIFICATE?

The holder is exempt from the same requirements of licensure as a licensed veterinarian.  There is no rigorous veterinarian license exam that is required.  However, application and renewal fees are roughly the same as that of a veterinarian licensed in NC.  You are probably better off taking the veterinarian license exam if you went to veterinarian school and want to eventually have your own practice.  There are a number of great zoos and animal refuge facilities in this state.  If you are private practice vet, zoo employee, faculty member who works with animals, thank you for your important work.

That’s all we have time for today.  Remember, this information is not intended to be legal advice and does not establish the attorney-client relationship.  Learn more about our firm by clicking here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *