Veterinary News

Important FY 2020 Licensing Info

(April 22, 2019) - All FY19 licenses for veterinarians and veterinary hospitals expire June 30, 2019 and must be renewed before July 1. About a third of Veterinary Technician registrations also expire this year. 

The licensing portal will open for FY20 renewals on June 1, 2019 for veterinarians, veterinary hospitals and RVTs. You must renew by midnight, June 30, 2019 if you are practicing in Maryland.  

If you have lost your login credentials to the licensing portal, you may reset them on the portal. Click on the “log in” button and then click on “forgot password.” Instructions will be sent to the email address we have on file for you. If you get a message that states “email is not found” or if you don’t receive the instructions via email, contact the office so we can confirm or update your email as necessary.

Again this year (and going forward), veterinarians and RVTs must upload proof of CEs in order to renew for FY 2020. You will be able to see what you uploaded last year but you cannot alter what you have already submitted. You may upload more CEs than you need if you have excess CEs but you must designate what year you are using them for by selecting the “Fiscal Year Where Credit Applies.”  (When uploading CEs to renew your license in June, you are applying them to your FY 20 license so select “FY 2020.”) 

(Note: If you are splitting CEs between fiscal years – for instance you earn 20 CEs at a conference and are using only 18 CEs for FY20 and allotting 2 CEs for next year, you will have to upload the same certificate twice for each year and note the number of CEs and the fiscal year for each.)
 
If you notice that you have made an error with your CEs after submitting your renewal application, call the office so we can correct the error.

This year, when you log in you will be able to update your personal contact information. State regulations also require you to keep your employment information up-to-date as well, so please make sure the information we have is correct. If your employment information is incorrect, you must inform us in writing (by letter, fax or email) of the change.  Updates can be emailed to us at mda.veterinaryboard@maryland.gov providing they are sent from the email address we have on file for you.
 
Hospital Licenses – Veterinarians who are also licensing hospitals will be able to renew both their individual license and their hospital license at the same time. You should see both available for renewal when you log in. Local business representatives for owners who have several facilities in the state should also be able to renew all of the facilities after logging in.  If you don’t see all your facilities listed and available for renewal, please call the office.
  
For New Licensees - Licenses are only good through the end of the fiscal year in which they were issued, so no matter how late in the year you were licensed, you must still renew by June 30.   

To set up your portal account, select the Register button, answer “yes” when it asks, “Have you been previously licensed in Maryland?” and enter your personal information. Activation instructions will then be emailed to you.  If your email is “not found” or if you are not receiving the email with instructions for logging on, contact the office so we can confirm and update your email on file with us.

If you have been licensed in Maryland for fewer than 12 months, you will not have to upload CEs. The system should allow you to bypass this step. If it doesn’t, call the office so we can verify your original licensing date.  

Updates in the meantme: If you have any questions or updates in the meantime, please call or email us. We appreciate your patience as we update our licensing system in order to better serve you.  

Contact us:
  • Online portal: portal.mda.maryland.gov
  • Phone: 410-841-5862 
  • Email: mda.veterinaryboard@maryland.gov
  • Twitter @MdVetBoard​

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Licensing Renewal Opens June 1, 2019 
(April 17, 2019) -  The Licensing Portal is undergoing upgrades in preparation for the FY2020 renewal season and is expected to come back online in mid-May. Veterinary Board licensees who intend to renew for FY2020 will be able to renew online starting June 1, 2019.  

Licensees who were licensed in FY2018 and intend to submit a late renewal for FY2019 may request a paper renewal application by calling the Board at 410-841-5862 or emailing mda.veterinaryboard@maryland.gov. You will also have the opportunity to submit a late renewal online once the Portal's upgrades are complete in mid-May.  All FY18 licenses must be renewed by June 30 or you will have to apply for reinstatement.

Thank you for patience as we upgrade our system to better serve you.
 
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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
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg VA 24061-0442
Phone: (540) 231-7017
Email:  azajac@vt.edu
 
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.   


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​CBD Oil and Maryland Veterinarians

(March 1, 2019) - The Maryland State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners frequently receives calls from veterinarians asking about the legality and propriety of prescribing, administering or discussing CBD oil with clients. The Board recently met with officials from the Maryland Department of Health Office of Controlled Substance Administration (OCSA), which issues CDS permits and is responsible for enforcing related State laws. The OCSA provided the Board with an overview of applicable law at both the State and federal levels.

Prior to the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (also known as the Farm Bill) in December 2018, both federal and state law classified CBD oil products  as Schedule 1 drugs, which are defined as drugs with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.  The 2018 Farm Bill, however, changed federal law and removed CBD oil that is made from hemp from Schedule 1.  However, the bill left it up to the states to develop plans for regulating hemp cultivation and production. The change in federal law did not exempt CBD oil made from marijuana from Schedule 1.  

IMPORTANTLY, these changes to Federal law DO NOT affect the Maryland Controlled Substance Act (Criminal Law, Title 5). Although the General Assembly may change state law at some point, right now, in Maryland, all products containing cannabidiol, except for Epidiolex, are Schedule 1 Controlled Substances. Epidiolex is the first CBD product that FDA has approved for medical use. DEA placed it in Schedule 5 in September 2018. It is an anti-epileptic drug indicated for severe forms of epilepsy in humans. Currently, the FDA has not approved any CBD products for use in animals.

The State Board recognizes that many pet owners choose to administer these products to their pets regardless of legal status or veterinary advice. The Board is also aware that many products claiming to be CBD Oil are easily available online and in reputable establishments. Still, the Board urges veterinarians to exhibit great caution if clients initiate discussions about these drugs. Regulations adopted under the Maryland Veterinary Practice Act state that: “a veterinarian shall ensure that all controlled dangerous substances are maintained, administered, prescribed, dispensed, and destroyed in compliance with all State and federal laws.  See COMAR 15.14.01.12B.  In addition, a veterinarian’s failure to comply with State and federal laws with respect to use of controlled dangerous substances may violate the Board’s professional conduct regulation, found in COMAR 15.14.01.04 , and its professional judgment regulation, found in COMAR 15.14.01.07. 

If the Board receives a complaint involving an adverse reaction to a CBD product that was administered, prescribed, or recommended by a veterinarian, issues such as the status of the law, and the status of FDA approval of CBD products, may be considered by the Board during a disciplinary proceeding.  

If you have questions about the legal status of CBD products, contact OCSA (410) 764-2890 or toll free at (866) 240-7458. See their website 
  
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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 mda.veterinaryboard@maryland.gov or on Twitter @MdVetBoard.

As 2019 begins, I wish all of you a happy and successful year ahead.
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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.

The Veterinary Practice Act and related regulations are on our website ​for easy reference. Please review them often! 
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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
(Sept. 21, 2018) - Background: During the 2018 Legislative Session, the General Assembly passed HB1453 / SB1223,  Controlled Dangerous Substances Registration – Authorized Providers – Continuing Education.  This bill requires veterinarians to take 2 Continuing Education hours in "prescribing or dispensing" Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) in order to obtain or renew a CDS permits. The bill takes effect October 1, 2018. 

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)








 
 
The State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners 
Office: 410-841-5862

Vanessa Orlando 
Executive Director

Tonya Kendrick
Licensing Administrator

Susan Husk
Assistant Director - Field Ops

Media Inquiries: 
Jason Schellhardt
Director of Communications
410-841-5889