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Massachusetts law about veterinary practice

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases and web sources on veterinary practice law.
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Massachusetts laws

MGL c. 13, s. 26MGL c. 13, s. 27; and MGL. c. 13, s. 28 Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine.
MGL c.112 sec. 54-60 Licensing Provisions for Registration of Veterinarians.
MGL c.140, s.151B Emergency Treatment of Dogs or Cats Injured on Ways; Payment to Veterinarians
MGL c.272, s.80-1/2 Devocalization of Dogs and Cats
St.2014, c.293 An Act Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety (PAWS Act), "Puppy Doe" Law. Increases penalties for animal abuse, and requires veterinarians to report suspected abuse.

Massachusetts regulations

256 CMR Rules and Regulations Governing Veterinarians

Federal laws

P.L. 113-143 Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act of 2014
Allows a veterinarian to transport and dispense controlled substances in the usual course of veterinary practice outside of the registered location.

Selected case law

Kippenberger v. Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine, 448 Mass. 1035 (2007) 
"Substantial evidence supports the board's decision that Kippenberger's treatment of each of the dogs failed to meet the acceptable standard of veterinary care. Kippenberger's treatment ranged from performing unnecessary surgery to misdiagnoses to neglect. Kippenberger's assertions in his defense are either unsupported by the record or insubstantial. Even if, for example, the board incorrectly stated that Kippenberger had failed to offer any defense of his care for one of the dogs, substantial evidence still supports the final assessment that Kippenberger's care of that dog was substandard."

Fitzgerald v. Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine, 399 Mass. 901 (1987)
"In proceedings before a hearing officer arising out of a matter referred to her by the Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine concerning a veterinarian's alleged improper treatment of an injured dog, the hearing officer, in construing and applying the terms "malpractice," "gross misconduct," and "conduct reflecting unfavorably on the profession of veterinary medicine," as those terms are used in G. L. c. 112, Sections 59 and 61, correctly looked to the general standards of ethics and practice which are adhered to in the profession of veterinary medicine."

Web sources

Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine
Find out about fees and licensing renewals. Also has an FAQ about the Board.

File a Complaint against a Licensed Veterinarian

Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association 
"For the advancement and protection of the veterinary medical profession in Massachusetts by promoting the betterment of animal health and well-being, enhancing the human-animal bond, safeguarding public health, supporting legislative advocacy and providing excellence in continuing education."

The Future of Veterinary Malpractice Liability in the Care of Companion Animals , by Christopher Green, 10 Animal L. 162 (2004).

Veterinary Malpractice, Nolo.com
Though not specific to Massachusetts, provides a great summary of veterinary malpractice and what is required to support a suit.

Print sources

Causes of Action Against Veterinarian for Veterinary Malpractice, 38 COA 2d 173

Criticism and Disparagement of Veterinarian’s or Animal Trainers’ Competence, or Conduct, as Defamation, 2 ALR 6th 657

Veterinarians, 24B AmJur Pleading and Practice Forms, Sections 1-32.

Veterinarian's Liability for Malpractice, 71 ALR4th 811.

Veterinary Malpractice Actions, 90 AmJur Proof of Facts 3d, Section 1.

Contact

Phone

Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only

Online

Reference librarians online Chat with a law librarian 
Reference librarians via email masslawlib@gmail.com

Address

Administrative office (no law library at this location)
2 Center Plaza
9th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Last updated: April 20, 2018

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