Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
12/4/2021

Part IV. Standards of Practice

18VAC150-20-171. Specialty practice in a limited setting.

A licensed veterinarian may conduct drug testing at animal shows and events or examine any animal and express a professional judgment as to its health at (i) genetic screening clinics where animals are examined for cardiac, ophthalmic and auditory diseases, (ii) agricultural fairs, (iii) 4-H or other youth organization competitions, (iv) livestock auctions, (v) horse races, (vi) hunt club events, (vii) pet adoption events, or (viii) animal shows including but not limited to dog, cat, and horse shows.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 and Chapter 38 (§ 54.1-3800 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 9, eff. March 1, 2003.

18VAC150-20-172. Delegation of duties.

A. A licensed veterinarian may delegate the administration (including by injection) of Schedule VI drugs to a properly trained assistant under his immediate supervision. The prescribing veterinarian has a specific duty and responsibility to determine that the assistant has had adequate training to safely administer the drug in a manner prescribed.

B. Injections involving chemotherapy drugs, subgingival scaling, intubation, or the placement of intravenous catheters shall not be delegated to an assistant. An assistant shall also not be delegated the induction of sedation or anesthesia by any means. The monitoring of a sedated or anesthetized patient may be delegated to an assistant, provided a veterinarian or licensed veterinary technician remains on premises until the patient is fully recovered.

C. Tasks that may be delegated by a licensed veterinarian to a properly trained assistant include:

1. Grooming;

2. Feeding;

3. Cleaning;

4. Restraining;

5. Assisting in radiology;

6. Setting up diagnostic tests;

7. Prepping a patient or equipment for surgery;

8. Dental polishing and scaling of teeth above the gum line (supragingival);

9. Drawing blood samples; or

10. Filling of Schedule VI prescriptions under the direction of a veterinarian licensed in Virginia.

D. A licensed veterinarian may delegate duties electronically, verbally, or in writing to appropriate veterinary personnel provided the veterinarian has physically examined the patient within the previous 36 hours.

E. Massage therapy, physical therapy, or laser therapy may be delegated by a veterinarian to persons qualified by training and experience by an order from the veterinarian.

F. The veterinarian remains responsible for the duties being delegated and remains responsible for the health and safety of the animal.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 9, eff. March 1, 2003; amended, Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 4, eff. November 25, 2009; Volume 29, Issue 6, eff. January 3, 2013; Volume 29, Issue 25, eff. September 26, 2013; Volume 34, Issue 1, eff. October 25, 2017.

18VAC150-20-173. Informed consent for surgery.

A. Before surgery is performed, informed consent shall be obtained from the owner and documented in the patient record. Veterinarians shall inform an owner of the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the recommended surgery that a reasonably prudent practitioner in similar practice in Virginia would tell an owner.

B. An exception to the requirement for consent prior to performance of surgery may be made in an emergency situation when a delay in obtaining consent would likely result in imminent harm to the patient.

C. If a veterinary preceptee or extern is to perform the surgery, either assisted or unassisted, the informed consent shall include that information. If the surgery is to be performed by a preceptee or extern unassisted by the veterinarian, the written informed consent shall specifically state that information.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 32, Issue 22, eff. July 27, 2016; amended, Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 1, eff. October 25, 2017.

18VAC150-20-174. Prescribing of controlled substances for pain or chronic conditions.

A. Evaluation of the patient and need for prescribing a controlled substance for pain.

1. For the purposes of this section, a controlled substance shall be a Schedules II through V drug, as set forth in the Drug Control Act (§ 54.1-3400 et seq. of the Code of Virginia), which contains an opioid, to include tramadol and buprenorphine.

2. Nonpharmacologic and non-opioid treatment for pain shall be given consideration prior to treatment with opioids. Prior to initiating treatment with a controlled substance, as defined, the prescriber shall perform a history and physical examination appropriate to the complaint and conduct an assessment of the patient's history as part of the initial evaluation.

3. If a controlled substance is necessary for treatment of pain, the veterinarian shall prescribe it in the lowest effective dose appropriate to the size and species of the animal for the least amount of time. The initial dose shall not exceed a 14-day supply.

B. If the prescribing is within the accepted standard of care, a veterinarian may prescribe a controlled substance containing an opioid for management of pain, terminal illnesses, or certain chronic conditions, such as chronic heart failure, chronic bronchitis, osteoarthritis, collapsing trachea, or related conditions.

1. For prescribing a controlled substance for management of pain after the initial 14-day prescription, the patient shall be seen and evaluated for the continued need for an opioid. For the prescribing of a controlled substance for terminal illnesses or certain chronic conditions, it is not required to see and reevaluate the patient for prescribing beyond 14 days.

2. For any prescribing of a controlled substance beyond 14 days, the veterinarian shall develop a treatment plan for the patient, which shall include measures to be used to determine progress in treatment, further diagnostic evaluations or modalities that might be necessary, and the extent to which the pain or condition is associated with impairment.

3. For continued prescribing of a controlled substance, the patient shall be seen and reevaluated at least every six months, and the justification for such prescribing documented in the patient record.

C. Prior to prescribing or dispensing a controlled substance, the veterinarian shall document a discussion with the owner about the responsibility for the security of the drug and proper disposal of any unused drug.

D. Continuation of treatment with controlled substances shall be supported by documentation of continued benefit from the prescribing. If the patient's progress is unsatisfactory, the veterinarian shall assess the appropriateness of continued use of the current treatment plan and consider the use of other therapeutic modalities.

E. The medical record for prescribing controlled substances shall include signs or presentation of the pain or condition, a presumptive diagnosis for the origin of the pain or condition, an examination appropriate to the complaint, a treatment plan, and the medication prescribed to include the date, type, dosage, and quantity prescribed.

Statutory Authority

§ 54.1-2400 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 34, Issue 23, eff. August 8, 2018.

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