Maryland Anti-Declaw Bill (October 1, 2022)-
On April 21st, 2022 Governor Larry Hogan signed the Maryland Anti-Declaw Bill (SB67)
into law. This law prohibits veterinarians in the State of Maryland from performing any declaw procedure that is not necessary for a therapeutic purpose. This bill is effective on October 1st, 2022.
Under this new law, a “therapeutic purpose” only includes treatments to address a physical or medical condition that compromises the health or well-being of an animal. This does not include cosmetic or aesthetic reasons, or reasons of convenience in the keeping or handling of the animal.
Declaw procedures include onychectomy; dactylectomy; phalangectomy; tendonectomy; and any procedure that cuts, removes, or modifies a portion of the paw, digit, or tendons to remove or prohibit the extension of a claw, or prohibits the normal functioning of one or more claws of an animal.
If a person willfully violates the cat declawing prohibition, the Board may refuse, suspend, or revoke any application or license, and censure or place on probation any licensee. The Board may also impose penalties in lieu of or in addition to the suspension and revocation of the license of up to $5,000 for a first offense and $10,000 for a second and subsequent offenses.
In addition, any person who unlawfully performs a declaw on a cat may be charged with a civil offense under Section 10-625.1 of the Criminal Law Article, Maryland Annotated Code, and assessed a fine of up to $1,000. Actions to enforce this new provision of the Criminal Law Article may be initiated by any state or local law enforcement officer or the local animal control authority in the jurisdiction where the violation occurred.
For the bills full text please visit the following link: https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2022RS/bills/sb/sb0067T.pdf
Rabies Information for Veterinarians
Dear Maryland Veterinarian:
This letter is to provide you
with information and resources regarding rabies prevention and control in
Rabies Information for
Rabies is a
preventable viral disease of all mammals that is usually transmitted by the
bite of a rabid animal. It is caused by viruses in the genus Lyssavirus and
is nearly always fatal once symptoms appear. In Maryland, rabies is most
frequently found in wildlife, most commonly raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats.
Domestic animals, including livestock, are also at risk, and cats are the most
frequently identified rabid domestic animal. In 2020, 255 animals tested
positive for rabies in Maryland, including 35 cats, 2 livestock, and 2 coyotes. READ MORE.
Unscheduled Inspections to Resume
(May 17, 2021) - We know it's been a difficult year and hope everyone is doing well as we move toward normalcy. Last July, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Board inspectors began scheduling sanitation inspections rather than conducting them unannounced. Starting next week (May 24), we will begin resuming
unannounced inspections of veterinary hospitals and animal control shelters. Inspectors will work with you to avoid disruption as much as possible. For information about regular inspections.
Updated Recommendation Concerning Curbside Service
(April 22, 2021) - Back in September 2020, the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners recommended that curbside service was the safest way for most hospitals to operate. Though this was never a requirement, many hospitals implemented and continue to maintain curbside service because it was the Board’s best advice at the time.
Governor Hogan recently announced increased capacity limits on outdoor and indoor dining, retail businesses, religious facilities, and personal services. Masking, physical distancing, and other safety protocols remain in place. (Read the Press Release.) (Read the Order).
Because the risk varies widely across the state, and from practice to practice, the Board does not have one recommendation that is now suitable for all practices. The Board is encouraging each practice to consider its own risk and set of circumstances and determine the safest way to operate while following all laws, public health guidance, and keeping the safety of the veterinary staff and clients as the top priority.
If you have not been vaccinated yet, you can sign up for text alerts by texting MdReady to 898211 and visiting the official website often for the most current information at https://covidlink.maryland.gov/content/
Helpful Resources: -
Keep Home & Work Contact Info Up to Date
(April 7, 2021) - As we start thinking about licensing renewal for next year, please ensure that all your contact information is up to date with us. State regulations require that both your personal contact information as well as your employment information be current with the Board.
You can check your personal/home information by logging into your portal account and checking your profile.
Most licensees can check their employment info by going to the public portal, searching on your name and then click on it. If you are practicing at a Maryland hospital, the name of the hospital should come up. If it doesn’t, you need to let us know where you’re working. (If you are not practicing in Maryland or you are working in some other area, such as in research or public health, please ensure that we have that information in our database. If you're not sure whether we have it, send it in again.)
You can update your personal and employment information online easily. (You must use the email we have on file for you to make any changes.)
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are a Responsible Veterinarian (which is sometimes referred to as the Medical Director), then you and your hospital owner must notify us within 30 days if you are joining or leaving a practice. You must send a letter to the Board office. (A scanned copy with a signature emailed in is sufficient.)
REMINDER TO HOSPITAL OWNERS. Every veterinary hospital must have a designated responsible veterinarian at all times and must inform the Board of any change in responsible veterinarians within 30 days. We suggest verifying who the responsible veterinarian of record is, making certain that the responsible veterinarian is aware of the designation and understands the responsibilities that go with it.
Remember - any change in ownership requires a new license and, in some cases, an inspection. For more information.
The Veterinary Practice Act and related Code of Maryland Regulations are on our website for easy reference HERE.
(Jan. 21, 2021) - If you receive an email that alleges to be from the Secretary of State’s Office - Maryland Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing and says you are required to verify or validate your profile for licensing purposes, DO NOT RESPOND or click on any links. It is not from us. If we ever ask you to do anything to your account and you aren’t sure it’s from us, just go directly to the portal on your own or through our website. Don’t follow a link. If you have received that email and clicked on the link and/or provided any information, consider reporting it to your I.T. department.
Notice from State Veterinarian for Agriculture
(Jan. 14,2021) - Please see attached information on an emerging rabbit disease in the United States, RHDV2. This disease has not been detected in Maryland at this time. Please review the information provided here
and report any suspicious cases immediately by contacting the Maryland Department of Agriculture by calling 410-841-5810 or emailing email@example.com.
Veterinarians and Vaccines
(Jan. 7, 2021) - The State Board has received many calls and emails, asking when veterinarians and staff will be eligible to receive the vaccine for COVID-19. The vaccine is being made available in phases. We were informed today that veterinarians, licensed technicians and support staff will be eligible to receive the vaccine during Phase 1C (Food/Agriculture Production), which is expected to begin in early March.
The state will issue vaccination updates through a number of channels, including the statewide 2-1-1 texting service. To opt-in to receive these alerts, text ‘MdReady’ to 898-211.
For the latest news release about the the vaccine distribution plan, here
. Marylanders are also encouraged to visit covidlink.maryland.gov
to review safety information and learn more about the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.
Reinforcing COVID Prevention Efforts
(Dec. 21,2020) -
The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is reaching out to the veterinary community to ensure continued compliance with recommended COVID-19 prevention protocols. These challenging times pose a significant threat to health and well-being. As a result, MDH encourages you to take this opportunity to reinforce COVID-19 prevention efforts, while continuing to protect both animal and human health. MDH provides the following reminders. Click here
FY20 Disciplinary Report Released
(December 2, 2020) -
A law adopted in 2020 (HB 549
) requires the Board to report annually to the Governor and General Assembly on the disciplinary actions it has taken the previous fiscal year. The first report due under the law covers FY20 (July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020). Read it here.
'Reminder - Farm Animal Vets Prescribing Medically Important Antimicrobials
(Dec. 2, 2020) - Veterinarians who have prescribed medically important antimicrobial drugs to large cattle, swine and poultry operations are required to submit VFD and prescription records to the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Records prescribed through September 30th, 2020 were due October 30, 2020, and are OVERDUE if you have not submitted them. Records prescribe thru October 1 thru December 31, 2020 are due January 31, 2021. For more information.
Free RFID Tags & Taggers Available
(Nov. 17, 2020) - Free RFID tags and taggers are available to all accredited Maryland veterinarians who treat cattle and swine, to improve disease traceability. For more information.
Veterinary Letter on PDMP from MDH
(Oct. 14, 2020) - Please see the attached letter about the Prescription Drug Monitoring Prrogram from Susannah Beckerman, Deputy Director
Office of Provider Engagement and Regulation, MDH
Dear Maryland Veterinarians,
Thank you for your continued efforts to safely prescribe and dispense controlled dangerous
substances (CDS) in Maryland while protecting and promoting animal health and welfare. This
letters seeks to provide guidance regarding the registration and use of PDMP by veterinarians. For more
About Curbside Serivce
(Sept. 3, 2020) - The Board office has received a number of complaints from consumers who do not like curbside service. You have probably heard the same complaints. We want to clarify the Board’s position.
Although you are required to operate in a manner that adheres to the Governor’s Executive Orders and local laws, and is consistent with CDC guidelines, you are not required to provide strict curbside service IF you can operate safely some other way, based on the physical size and configuration of your facility. The Board believes curbside service is the safest way for most hospitals to operate under current conditions and it remains our general recommendation, but it is not a requirement.
Although Governor Hogan has announced the start of Phase III, we are not back to business as usual.
However you choose to operate, you should still maintain social distancing as much as possible and require all staff to wear masks at all times. If you let clients in, they too should be masked the entire time.
Please remind your client that curbside services protect you, your staff, and your families - not just clients who may be willing to take a higher risk.
Elizabeth Callahan, DVM
Scam Alert! Some State Board Report Spoofing
(August 18, 2020) - The American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) has released the following: "Some veterinary licensing boards are reporting that their licensees are receiving phone calls from people claiming to be staff from the licensing board in an attempt to obtain sensitive license or personal information. The callers will often falsely claim the licensee is under investigation or their license is in danger of being suspended. The phone numbers that appear on the caller ID can sometimes appear authentic. This is a common fraud technique known as spoofing. Scammers appear to be impersonating the DEA as well."
Note: All Maryland State Board and staff members are listed by name on our website. If anyone contacts you and it sounds “off,” please feel free to call us back or call the office to verify it's really us. Let's be safe out there!
Licensing Deadline Set for Sept. 30
(July 28, 2020) Veterinary licenses usually expire on June 30 of every year; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the State of Emergency, the deadline date was extended. The new deadline for renewing licenses that expired June 30, 2020 is now September 30. This applies to veterinary licenses, hospital licenses, animal control licenses, and those three-year RVT licenses that expired June 30, 2020.
If you have not yet renewed your license and you are practicing in Maryland, be sure to do so by Sept. 30. If you are not practicing in Maryland but want to remain licensed here, you have until June 2020 to renew but a $100 late fee will be applied to renewals starting October 1.
If you aren’t sure whether you need to renew or not, check the online look up on the portal. If you do not come up, you have not yet renewed. If you best way to reach us with questions or concerns is by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the Secretary's Order
Continuing Education Update
(July 28, 2020) - Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Board allowed all Continuing Education requirements to be done online for those veterinarians and RVTs whose licenses expired June 30, 2020. In light of the on-going pandemic, the Board has again voted to allow all CEs to be done online for those licenses that expire June 30, 2021. (In normal times, veterinarians are required to obtain 18 CEs hours every year to renew their license and no more than 9 CEs may be done online. RVTs are required to obtain a total of 24 CEs over three years, with no more than 8 done online and no more than 4 done online in any one year.)
State Board to Resume Inspections
(July 9, 2020) - The State Board is resuming inspections of veterinary hospitals – with changes designed to protect everyone working in veterinary practices as well as our own inspectors and members of the public from COVID-19. We ask for your cooperation.
Hospital inspections are usually unannounced and unscheduled with the facility ahead of time. For the immediate future, however, inspectors will contact the hospital at least 24 hours prior to an inspection and make an appointment to inspect the facility at the most advantageous time with either the owner, responsible veterinarian, or practice manager. Before confirming an appointment, inspectors will ask whether anyone in the facility, or anyone who lives with anyone in the facility, has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days or experienced COVID19-related symptoms.
When your hospital is inspected:
- Everyone at the hospital must maintain social distancing from the inspector;
- Everyone in the hospital must wear masks or face coverings during the inspection or leave the building while the inspection is being conducted.
- One hospital employee must go with the inspector and that person will open doors, cabinets, drug safes, etc. and maintain social distancing.
- Inspection reports will no longer be signed by facility staff on the inspector’s phone or Ipad but will be emailed to the manager of record by the end of the next business day. Please confirm receipt with a reply email.
During the inspection, our inspectors must:
- Wear a face mask throughout the inspection. Face masks may only be removed after they have distanced themselves from all people.
- Keep hand sanitizer on them at all times.
- Keep disposable gloves with them at all times during an inspection. If at any time during any site inspection, they have to touch surfaces, structures or other equipment, protective gloves must worn. If inadvertent contact is made, inspectors must wipe down the surface immediately with an acceptable disinfect and then either wash their hands or apply hand sanitizer immediately.
- Wash hands or use hand sanitizer at the beginning and end of every site inspection and/or entering or leaving a state vehicle.
Also, inspectors may not travel to or from an inspection with any passengers in their car. The inspector will wipe down those areas of their vehicle that are frequently touched (steering wheel, arm rests, etc.) with an acceptable disinfectant after each use and at the end of each day.
Note: Inspections may be postponed or conducted virtually, at the Board’s discretion.
We know these are difficult times. We encourage you to discuss any of your health and safety concerns with your inspector when they call to schedule the inspection so that we can address those concerns and not add any more anxiety than is already in the air. All staff phone numbers and emails are available on our website.
Request for Expression of Interest - Facility Operator for Equine Health, Safety, and Research Center at Laurel Park
(July 8,2020) - The Maryland Stadium Authority is requesting an Expression of Interest from experienced firms/entities that are qualified to operate a possible Equine Health, Safety and Research Center at Laurel Park. Read more.
Curbside Service Still Recommended but. . .
(June 4, 2020) - On May 7, all veterinary practices were allowed to resume routine and elective procedures. At that time, we recommended that hospitals that have implemented curbside service should continue to do so. This is still the safest way to operate to protect your staff and the public; however, we also understand that the weather is getting warmer and some hospitals may want to allow clients in the waiting room, especially for those practices with larger waiting rooms. If you choose to allow clients inside, you must abide by county and state orders. We strongly recommend you follow the AVMA recommendations
for minimizing risk when interacting with clients.
Announcement: Reporting Required for Some Food Animal Veterinarians
Annoucement: Licensing Portal Opens June 1
(May 18, 2020) - The licensing portal will open for FY21 license renewals on June 1, 2020 for veterinarians, veterinary hospitals, Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVTs) and Animal Control Facilities. For more information.
Pet Grooming & Adoption to Open
(May 14, 2020) - Gov. Hogan announced yesterday that Stage One of his Recovery Plan will begin on Friday, May 15, at 5 p.m. At this time, pet grooming and pet adoption shelters may open. If you are in a county that is not yet lifting the stay-at-home order, please contact your local officials for guidance. See the recommended guidelines for reopening businesses.
MDH Medication Survey
(May 14, 2020) - The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is trying to ascertain the location and quantity of medications used in intubation or critical care including any that may be located in veterinary clinics. The impact of COVID-19 has led to some medication shortages, especially those medications needed to safely intubate patients. We ask the Responsible Veterinarian at each hospital to complete this survey
which will help MDH plan for contingencies in the event that the shortages become critical. The survey can be found here
(May 7, 2020) - Veterinary
practices— including small animal and equine practices—may resume wellness and elective procedures. . . read on
CDC Guidance for Veterinary Hospitals Released
Maryland Requirements for Testing of Pets and Exotic Animals for COVID-19
(April 20, 2020) - This letter from Dr. Michael J. Odian, State Veterinarian for Animal Health (Maryland Dept. of Agriculture) and Dr. David A. Crum, State Veterinarian for Public Health (Maryland Dept. of Health) is to inform you of procedures required for requesting COVID-19 testing for animals. At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that any animals, including pets or livestock, can spread COVID-19 to people. The State of Maryland, USDA, and CDC do not recommend routine testing of animals for this virus. Because the situation is ever-evolving, public and animal health officials may decide to test certain animals out of an abundance of caution. The Maryland Departments of Agriculture and Health have direct oversight of the approval process for animal testing for COVID-19 in Maryland.
Veterinary Ventilator Survey
(April 6, 2020) - The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is planning for a worst case scenario in light of the anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients in the State, yet there is a severe shortage of ventilators across the country. The department has asked the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners to survey veterinary practices to determine the number and type of ventilators that are in veterinary practices right now that are FDA approved and could be used on people. MDH has numerous ventilators on order and is certainly hopeful that they will not have to turn to the veterinary community for help; however, if MDH asks for your equipment, it will eventually be replaced with a new unit (rather than a returned unit), though it will likely take some time to replace. Please fill out the survey as soon as possible and no later than close of business on Tuesday, April 7. We appreciate your cooperation.
(April 1, 2020) - All veterinary hospitals and clinics should postpone all routine or elective surgical procedures immediately; however, veterinarians should use their medical/professional judgement to determine what is "essential' for any given animal. What is essential for one, may not be essential for another. Any procedure that can't be safely postponed for 3 months, shouldn't be postponed.
Read updated guidance from the Board here.
(March 30, 2020) -DEA is providing guidance
regarding the issuance of oral schedule II prescriptions in light of the nationwide public health emergency (“Public Health Emergency”) declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on January 31, 2020, pursuant to section 319 of the Public Health and Service Act, 42 U.S.C. 247d, as a result of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). For information.
CE Changes for RVTs
(March 27, 2020) - In light of the State's COVID-19 response and the Governor's call for social distancing, the Maryland State Board has voted to allow Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVTs) to meet all of their CE requirements with online courses when renewing their license registration for FY 2021 only. Normally, only 8 of the 24 CEs required during the three previous years may be done online. This requirement is being waived for FY21 license registration renewals only.
The Board previously voted to allow veterinarians to meet all of their CE requirements with online courses when renewing their veterinary license registration for FY 2021. Normally, at least 9 of the 18 required CEs must done in person. This requirement is being waived for FY21 license registration renewals only.
(March 23, 2020) -The Drug Enforcement Administration, Diversion Control Division, is asking State Veterinary Boards to get the below message out to their DEA registration population:
The mission of Drug Enforcement Administrations (DEA), Diversion Control Division is to prevent, detect, and investigate the diversion of controlled pharmaceuticals and listed chemicals from legitimate sources while ensuring an adequate and uninterrupted supply for legitimate medical, commercial, and scientific needs.
During this National Emergency the Diversion Control Division will continue to work with our Federal partners, DEA registrants, and their representative association to assure that there is an adequate supply of controlled substances in the United States. The DEA will also work to assure that patients will have access to controlled substances.
On March 16, 2020, the DEA published a COVID-19 Information Page
on the Diversion Control Divisions Web Site
. This page contains important guidance concerning COVID-19 and the national drug supply, electronic prescribing of controlled substances, telemedicine, medicated assisted treatment, and other important federal and state information. This site will be updated frequently as new information and guidance is issued. Please check back frequently for further information.
Please continue to direct all policy questions concerning COVID-19 to the Policy email box at Natural.Disaster@usdoj.gov
Announcement - Board Letter
(March 22, 2020) - Board President Dr. Elizabeth Callahan has written a memo to the veterinary community. Please read it here.
Announcement - Essential Services
(March 20, 2020) - We have had a great many questions over the last week from veterinarians who are uncertain about what they are required to do. At this time, veterinary practices are considered essential services and have not been ordered to close. Because you are essential to animal and public health, even during the best of times, you are being asked to stay open if you can do so safely.
The ultimate decision whether to stay operational is up to each individual practice. That decision should be based on what you feel is best for your staff, customers, and the general public. All veterinary practices that do continue to operate are to remain vigilant in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and to develop their own protocols for how to use social distancing practices, limit gatherings to fewer than 10 people, and ensure all staff and clients (if they are in your building) have access to hand sanitizer or hand-washing stations.
We have also gotten many questions about telemedicine. The Board does not have any regulations directly related to telehealth/telemedicine practices, but the regulations define the VCPR as follows:
"Veterinarian-client-patient relationship" means that all of the following conditions exist:
(a) The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the animal and the need for medical treatment, and the client has agreed to follow the veterinarian's instructions;
(b) The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal because the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal through either:
(i) A physical examination; or
(ii) Medically appropriate and timely visits to the location where the animal is kept; and
(c) The veterinarian is readily available or has arranged for emergency coverage or follow-up evaluation in the event of adverse reactions or the failure of the treatment regimen.
We know this is a very stressful time for everyone, and we appreciate everyone's cooperation and efforts to do what is best for their business, their staff and the people and animals of Maryland.
Announcement - Essential Service(March 19, 2020)
- Veterinary Services are considered essential services and asked to remain open until or unless otherwise directed. For more info.
Announcement - Essential Service
(March 18, 2020)
- Veterinary hospitals provide a vital service to the state and protect both animal and public health. There are no current directives related to veterinary hospitals, however each practice is encouraged to make their own operational decisions based on what they feel is best for their staff, customers, and the general public. The Maryland Department of Agriculture and the State Board encourage all veterinary practices to remain vigilant in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. If you plan to continue operations, please utilize social distancing practices, limit gatherings to fewer than 50 people, and make sure all staff and customers have access to hand sanitizer or hand-washing stations. For the latest information, follow us on Twitter @MdVetBoard
Announcement - Social Distancing
(March 16, 2020) - Today, Governor Hogan announced additional actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Maryland; however, veterinary hospitals provide a vital service to the state and should continue operations. The Maryland Department of Agriculture urges all veterinary professionals to practice social distancing as much as possible, regularly sanitize all touch surfaces, and provide ample access to hand sanitizers/hand-washing stations for employees and customers.
CE Change for Veterinarians
(March 13, 2020) - In light of the State's coronavirus response and the Governor's call for social distancing, the Maryland State Board has voted to allow veterinarians to meet all their CE requirements with online courses when renewing their veterinary license registration for FY 2021. Normally, at least 9 of the 18 required CEs must done in person. This requirement is being waived for FY21 license registration renewals only. Renewals open June 1.
DLS Program Evaluation of State Board
The Department of Legislative Services completed a Program Evaluation of the State Board during 2019. The report, which was released in December 2019, includes eight recommendations which the Board supports. Read the report.
USP 800 and Veterinary Hospitals
(October 25, 2019) - The State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has received several inquiries asking if the Board intends to inspect for and enforce USP 800- Hazardous Drugs—Handling in Healthcare Settings. The short answer is: the Board does not currently intend to inspect for compliance with USP 800, but that does not mean that veterinary practices should ignore the standards.
The U.S. Pharmacopeial (USP) Convention is a nonprofit scientific organization with a mission “to improve global health through public standards and related programs that help ensure the quality, safety, and benefit of medicines and foods.” USP itself has no authority to enforce any of its standards. The standards established in USP 800 do not carry the force of law unless they have been specifically adopted, at either the federal or state level, by way of a law or regulation. Currently, the Maryland Veterinary Practice Act and related regulations do not specifically require compliance with USP 800. In addition, the Maryland Board of Pharmacy, which has incorporated certain USP standards into its regulations governing pharmacies, has not adopted USP 800 at this time.
However, this does not mean that USP 800 is irrelevant to veterinary practices. The USP 800 standards promote worker safety, as well as the safety of patients and animal owners who come into contact with hazardous drugs.
Any veterinary practice that uses the hazardous drugs to which USP 800 applies – especially any practice treating animals with any kind of cancer - would be well served to study USP 800 and follow the standards. Although Board inspections will not specifically address compliance with USP 800, if inspectors see a practice that appears to pose a specific hazard to workers, animal patients, or animal owners, the Board may address the issue through its existing regulations governing professional conduct and professional judgment and/or refer the concern to OSHA or other relevant agency for further inspection.
In the event of an OSHA inspection or a private lawsuit alleging harm caused by unsafe handling of hazardous drugs, the USP 800 standards may be viewed as reflecting the prevailing standard of care.
Keep in mind that other agencies, such as OSHA/MOSH, the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Department of Health impose requirements on veterinary practices which are not reflected in the Board's regulations. Veterinary practices should take care to ensure they are fully cognizant of all the laws and regulations that impact their particular practices, not just those specifically enumerated in the Practice Act.
Hopkins Asking Veterinarians for Help
(June 14, 2019) - Johns Hopkins Medicine is currently enrolling human participants in a research protocol, Novel Diagnostics for Early Lyme Disease. Since canine owners may be exposed to ticks carrying Lyme disease while engaging in activities with their canine pets, they are asking veterinarians to help expand study awareness and outreach to people who develop early Lyme disease with a bull’s eye rash. Read the Hopkins Letter. See the Lyme Poster. For more about the study, see: EarlyLymeStudy.org.
Zoonotic tapeworm, Echinococcus multilocularis, in a Virginia dog.
From: David A. Crum, DVM, MPH
State Public Health Veterinarian
(March 5, 2019) This letter alerts Maryland animal health professionals to a recent case of the zoonotic tapeworm, Echinococcus multilocularis, in a Virginia dog.
This parasite, found primarily in wild coyotes and foxes in northern latitudes, has not yet been diagnosed in wild canids from the mid-Atlantic region. However, the lack of confirmed travel history in this case suggests that the dog was possibly exposed to the tapeworm in Virginia (See attached case study
for additional information).
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) plans to conduct opportunistic E. multilocularis surveillance in coyotes and foxes and is asking veterinarians in the adjoining states to report any suspect or confirmed animal cases. All questions or inquiries regarding potential cases should be directed to:
Anne Zajac DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVM
VA-MD College of Veterinary Medicine
Blacksburg VA 24061-0442
Phone: (540) 231-7017
Human cases of E. multilocularis are rare. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most at-risk group of humans for E. multilocularis infection includes trappers, hunters, veterinarians, and individuals who come into frequent contact with wild coyotes and foxes, such as wildlife rehabilitators.
Additional information regarding E. multilocularis
is available online from CDC here
If you have any additional questions, please call the Center for Zoonotic and Vector-borne Diseases (CZVBD) at 410-767-5649.
Animal Cruelty Reporting Regulations Took Effect December 31
A Message from Board President Dr. David Handel
(Jan. 4, 2019) - Regulations related to animal cruelty reporting for veterinarians took effect December 31, 2018. Read the regulations here
. The original law
that took effect October 1, 2017 requires veterinarians to make a report to law enforcement when they have reason to believe that an animal they are treating has been subjected to cruelty or animal fighting. These regulations offer guidance on the reporting requirement and confidentiality procedures for reports.
This law and these regulations have caused a great deal of angst in the veterinary community. I want to assure you that the law and these regulations are not intended to be "gotcha" regulations. Instead, these requirements are designed only to protect animals who we, as veterinarians, have reason to believe are in an abusive situation. I firmly believe that the vast majority of practitioners would not hesitate to report someone we believed was being intentionally cruel to an animal. These regulations are designed to give some guidance on how to both go about reporting and protecting yourself and your practice.
We understand that veterinarians aren’t always trained to recognize cruelty. We know a broken leg when we see it, but we don’t always know if the injury was inflicted intentionally or not. The Board encourages you to obtain additional training in the recognition of animal cruelty if you do not feel adequately versed in it.
Animal Control officials are the experts at investigating and prosecuting animal cruelty cases. The Board’s website
has a list of Animal Control officials in each county who you can call for advice if you are faced with a client whose actions you are unsure about. These are the same people you can call to make an official report. You are not required to investigate and make a determination yourself if you suspect cruelty, just make the call.
The definition of animal cruelty in these regulations is the same as the definition used in the criminal code
. That definition includes (but is not limited to) “Inflicting unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal, or unnecessarily failing to provide an animal with . . . necessary veterinary care . . .”
Several veterinarians submitted comments during the Public Comment Period, asking for clarification of the meaning of “necessary veterinary care.” After much discussion, the Board has opted to leave the phrase as is and to use its discretion, according to common norms and standards and as applied on a case by case basis, when determining whether necessary care was provided. It is difficult to address every possible instance in which necessary care may or may not have been provided, but the Board believes that “necessary care” is closely related to alleviating a pet’s pain and suffering. While the Board, of course, believes responsible pet ownership includes providing vaccinations and regular check-ups, failing to do so is not considered cruelty on its face.
The Board is always open to hearing your comments and thoughts. You can reach the Board at email@example.com or on Twitter @MdVetBoard
As 2019 begins, I wish all of you a happy and successful year ahead.
Two Regulations Getting Vets in Trouble!
There are two Code of Maryland regulations that veterinarians are being sanctioned for violating more and more. We urge you to be aware of them.
First: Hospital licenses are not transferable.
A hospital license is issued to the owner of a hospital and is only good for the specific owner who obtained it and for the actual physical building for which the license was issued. If there is any change in the hospital's ownership or location, you need a new license.
- If you sell your practice, or part of your practice, you need a new license, even if you are remaining as the responsible veterinarian and there are no other personnel changes.
- If you are opening a brand new hospital, even if it is on the same property, with the same address, you need a new license.
- If your hospital location changes, but the hospital owner and the hospital’s name stays the same, you need a new license.
- If you are moving into a new facility, you need a new license, even if your new facility has always been used as a veterinary hospital.
Each time a new license is requested, whether for a change in ownership or change of location, an inspection is required.
If the facility is brand new or if it has not been inspected in the last 12 months, it must be inspected before it opens - or opens under new ownership. If the facility has been inspected in the last 12 months, it must be inspected within 60 days after it receives a new license. When/if you apply for a new license, be aware that Board inspectors schedule their inspections several weeks out. Apply in plenty of time to get the inspection done before you plan to open.
If you do not get a new license for these changes, you will be operating without a valid license and the owners and/or responsible veterinarian will be subject to sanctions. The longer you operate unlicensed, the higher the fine. For more information. If you have questions, please call the Board office at 410-841-5862.
Second: Keep your Expired Medications Separate from Unexpired Meds
During routine hospital inspections, Board inspectors are finding more and more instances of expired medications being kept among the working stock of drugs. Code of Maryland Regulation 15.14.01.12-3 states:
A. A Veterinarian may not administer expired medications to an animal.
B. A veterinarian may not remove expiration dates from medications.
C. Until a veterinarian has disposed of an expired medication, the veterinarian shall package and keep it separate and apart from unexpired medications.
The Board frequently assesses civil penalties against the responsible veterinarian for these violations. It is an easy infraction to avoid. Assign a technician to check your working stock of drugs every month and pull anything that is expired. Problem solved.
Investigator Husk Promoted
(November 30, 2018) - The State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners has promoted its lead inspector Susan Kozlovsky Husk to Assistant Director for Field Operations. In this new role, Ms. Husk will coordinate and oversee all inspections and investigations for both the State Veterinary Board and the Maryland Horse Industry Board. The move is expected to make both Boards more nimble and flexible to deploy resources where they are most needed. Next year, the Board will begin its initial inspections of animal control facilities and private shelters that receive money from the State Spay and Neuter Grant Program (as required by law). This will add about 35 inspections to the work load.
Ms. Kozlovsky Husk has been with the State Board for five years as an investigator. Prior to joining the Board she worked for over 30 years in the veterinary field as a veterinary technician and practice manager for several veterinary practices. Those practices included small animal practices, a house call practice, and an ambulatory equine and farm animal practice. Additionally, Ms. Kozlovsky Husk worked as a territory manager for a national animal health distribution company.
New CE Requirements for CDS Permits
Any veterinarian who applies for an initial CDS permit or who applies to renew a CDS permit on or after October 1, 2018 must first take 2 CEs in prescribing or dispensing CDS. The CEs must be approved by the State Board. (See below) You will have to attest to taking these CEs when you apply for your CDS permit.
Note: CDS permits are issued by the Maryland Department of Health, Office of Controlled Substance Administration
– not the State Veterinary Board. Although the State Veterinary Board does not require new licensees to obtain CEs their first year of licensure, the OCSA does require licensees to have these 2 CEs before obtaining a CDS permit.
This is a one-time requirement. If you already have a CDS permit, you only have to take these 2 CEs the first time you renew after October 1, 2018. These CEs may be used toward your annual CE requirement for licensure.
Courses that may be used to meet this requirement are below:
- Any webinar or CE course pertaining to the prescribing or dispensing of CDS that is RACE Approved*
- Any webinar or CE course pertaining to the prescribing or dispensing of CDS for veterinarians that is provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), VetFolio, or VetGirl. Search CDC.
- Any webinar or CE course pertaining to the prescribing or dispensing of CDS that is provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA).
Other Qualifying Webinars:
Submit a request for approval of other in-person or online courses HERE:
Important: The OCSA will audit permit holders for compliance. If you fraudulently obtain a CDS permit by attesting to taking these courses when you did not, you may be subject to fines and penalties from OCSA and the State Board.
*American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE)