Re: Board Policy Guidelines: Dispensing of Prescription Veterinary Diets by a Non-Prescribing Veterinarian When the Prescribing Veterinarian Does Not Stock the Veterinary Diet or the Client Does Not Have Ready Access to the Prescribed Diet

Date: July 12, 2007

The Board of Registration of Veterinary Medicine ("the Board") voted today to adopt the following Policy Guideline. This policy guideline is intended as a recommended protocol for the profession to follow. The guideline set forth below does not have the full force and effect of law, as would a Massachusetts General Law or a Board rule or regulation. However, the Board uses policy guidelines as an internal management tool in formulating decisions that relate to issues in the practice of veterinary medicine.

Policy No. 08-02


The purpose of this policy statement is to offer guidance regarding those circumstances in which prescription veterinary diets may be dispensed by a non-prescribing veterinarian to animals in the Commonwealth with whom the veterinarian does not have a genuine veterinarian-client patient relationship.


Under normal circumstances, an individual holding a license issued by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine to practice veterinary medicine in the Commonwealth may dispense or prescribe veterinary diets only in the course of his or her professional practice after establishing a genuine veterinarian-client patient relationship as required in 256 CMR 7.01(1).

However, the Board recognizes that prescription veterinary diets are available only by prescription through a veterinarian, and that veterinarians may at times not stock all available veterinary diets necessary to save life or relieve suffering. Additionally, clients may not have ready access to the prescription diets for a variety of reasons, such as closure of the prescribing veterinarian's office on a particular day or lack of geographical proximity to the diet. Consequently, it is Board policy that in situations like those described above, another veterinarian who does not have a genuine veterinary-client patient relationship with that animal may dispense a prescribed veterinary diet to that animal.

A non-prescribing veterinarian may dispense a prescription veterinary diet for the treatment of a patient upon receiving the authorization of the prescribing licensed veterinarian, provided that:

(1) If the dispensing veterinarian creates a medical record, then that record should contain all the information required by 256 CMR 5.01; and

(2) The prescription is written, or transmitted by any electronic means, in accordance with M.G.L. c. 94C. If the prescribing veterinarian is not known to the dispensing veterinarian, the dispensing veterinarian must make a reasonable good faith effort to determine that the prescription came from a licensed veterinarian, including a callback to the prescribing veterinarian using his or her phone number listed in the telephone directory or other good faith efforts to verify his or her identity.

Authority: M.G.L. Chapter 112, Section 58; and 256 CMR 1.00 et seq.