excerpts from The California Veterinary Practice Act
relating to the practice of veterinary medicine and animal health technology
Graduates and Students of Veterinary Colleges – Job Tasks
A junior or senior student or a graduate of a recognized veterinary college listed in Section 2022(a) who is performing any animal health care task in a veterinary premises registered by the Board may perform only the identical job tasks with the identical degree of supervision by the supervisor as specified for a R.V.T. pursuant to Section 2036.
Note: A student becomes a junior or senior student upon completion of their course of study of their sophomore and junior years, i.e., they are a junior student during the summer between their sophomore and junior year. Freshman and sophomore students may practice as veterinary assistants. Junior and senior students may practice as registered veterinary technicians.
Animal Health Care Tasks Definitions
For purposes of the rules and regulations applicable to animal health care tasks for registered veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants, contained in the article, the term:
(a) Veterinarian means a California licensed veterinarian.
(b) R.V.T. means a registered veterinary technician certified by the Board.
(c) Veterinary assistant means any individual who is not an R.V.T. or a licensed veterinarian.
(d) Supervisor means a California licensed veterinarian or if a job task so provides an R.V.T.
(e) Direct Supervision means: (1) the supervisor is physically present at the location where animal health care job tasks are to be performed and is quickly and easily available; and (2) the animal has been examined by a veterinarian at such time as good veterinary medical practice requires consistent with the particular delegated animal health care job task.
(f) Indirect Supervision means: (1) that the supervisor is not physically present at the location where animal health care job tasks are to be performed, but has given either written or oral instructions (direct orders) for treatment of the animal patient; and (2) the animal has been examined by a veterinarian at such times as good veterinary medical practice requires, consistent with the particular delegated animal health care task and the animal is not anesthetized as defined in Section 2032.4.
(g) Animal Hospital Setting means all veterinary premises which are required by Section 4853 of the Code to be registered with the Board.
(h) Administer means the direct application of a drug or device to the body of an animal by injection, inhalation, ingestion, or other means.
(i) Induce means the initial administration of a drug with the intended purposed of rendering the animal unconscious.
Section 2035 Duties of Supervising Veterinarian
(a) The supervising veterinarian shall be responsible for determining the competency of the R.V.T. or veterinary assistant to perform allowable animal health care tasks.
(b) The supervising veterinarian of a R.V.T. or veterinary assistant shall make all decisions relating to the diagnosis, treatment, management and future disposition of the animal patient.
(c) The supervising veterinarian shall have examined the animal patient prior to the delegation of any animal health care task to either an R.V.T. or veterinary assistant. The examination of the animal patient shall be conducted at such time as good veterinary medical practice requires consistent with the particular delegated animal health care task.
Section 2036 Animal Health Care Tasks for RVTs
(a) Unless specifically so provided by regulation, a R.V.T. shall not perform the following functions or any other activity which represents the practice of veterinary medicine or requires the knowledge, skill and training of a licensed veterinarian:
(2) Diagnosis and prognosis of animal diseases;
(3) Prescription of drugs, medicines or appliances.
(b) An R.V.T. may perform the following procedures only under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian:
(1) Induce anesthesia;
(2) Apply casts and splints;
(3) Perform dental extractions;
(4) Suture cutaneous and subcutaneous tissues, gingiva and oral mucous membranes,
(5) Create a relief hole in the skin to facilitate placement of an intravascular catheter
(c) An R.V.T. may perform the following procedures under indirect supervision of a licensed veterinarian:
(1) Administer controlled substances.
(d) Subject to the provisions of subsection(s) (a), (b) and (c) of this section, an R.V.T. may perform animal health care tasks under the direct or indirect supervision of a licensed veterinarian. The degree of supervision by a licensed veterinarian over a R.V.T. shall be consistent with standards of good veterinary medical practices.
Animal Hospital Health Care Tasks for Veterinary Assistants.
(a) Veterinary assistants shall be prohibited from performing any of the functions or activities specified in subsections (a) (b) and (c) of Section 2036 of these regulations, except that an veterinary assistant under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian or registered technician may administer a controlled substance.
(b) Subject to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, veterinary assistants in an animal hospital setting may perform auxiliary animal health care tasks under the direct or indirect supervision of a licensed veterinarian or the direct supervision of an R.V.T. The degree of supervision by a licensed veterinarian over an veterinary assistant shall be higher than or equal to the degree of supervision required when an R.V.T. performs the same task and shall be consistent with standards of good veterinary medical practices.
Animal Hospital Health Care Tasks for Veterinary Assistants.
(a) Registered veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants are approved to perform those animal health care services prescribed by law under the supervision of a veterinarian licensed or authorized to practice in this state.
(b) Registered veterinary technicians may perform animal health care services on those animals impounded by a state, county, city, or city and county agency pursuant to the direct order, written order, or telephonic order of a veterinarian licensed or authorized to practice in this state.
(c) Registered veterinary technicians may apply for registration from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration that authorizes the direct purchase of sodium pentobarbital for the performance of euthanasia as provided for in subdivision (d) of Section 4827 without the supervision or authorization of a licensed veterinarian.
Registered veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants shall not perform the following health care services:
(b) Diagnosis and prognosis of animal diseases.
(c) Prescribing of drugs, medicine and appliances.
Under conditions of an emergency, a registered veterinary technician may render such lifesaving aid and treatment as may be prescribed under regulations adopted by the board pursuant to Section 4836. Such emergency aid and treatment if rendered to an animal patient not in the presence of a licensed veterinarian may only be continued under the direction of a licensed veterinarian. Emergency for the purpose of this section, means that the animal has been placed in a life-threatening condition where immediate treatment is necessary to sustain life.
Emergency Animal Care
Emergency animal care rendered by a registered veterinary technician.
Under conditions of an emergency as defined in Section 4840.5, a registered veterinary technician may render the following life saving aid and treatment to an animal:
(1) Application of tourniquets and/or pressure bandages to control hemorrhage.
(2) Administration of pharmacological agents to prevent or control shock, including parenteral fluids, shall be performed after direct communication with a licensed veterinarian or veterinarian authorized to practice in this state. In the event that direct communication cannot be established, the registered veterinary technician may perform in accordance with written instructions established by the employing veterinarian. Such veterinarian shall be authorized to practice in this state.
(3) Resuscitative oxygen procedures.
(4) Establishing open airways including intubation appliances but excluding surgery.
(5) External cardiac resuscitation.
(6) Application of temporary splints or bandages to prevent further injury to bones or soft tissues.
(7) Application of appropriate wound dressings and external supportive treatment in severe burn cases.
(8) External supportive treatment in heat prostration cases.
Emergency Animal Care
(a) A registered veterinary technician who has been examined by the board in the area of radiation safety and techniques may operate radiographic equipment under the indirect supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
(b) An veterinary assistant may operate radiographic equipment under the direct supervision of a registered veterinary technician or a licensed veterinarian.
(a) Except where the patient is a wild animal or its owner is unknown, it shall constitute unprofessional conduct for a veterinarian to administer or prescribe a drug, medicine, appliance, or application or treatment of whatever nature for the prevention, cure, or relief of a wound, fracture or bodily injury or disease of an animal without having first established a veterinarian-client-patient relationship with the animal patient or patients and the client. It shall also constitute unprofessional conduct for a veterinarian to prescribe, dispense, or furnish either a veterinary drug, as defined by Section 1747.1, Title 16, California Code of Regulations, or a dangerous drug, as defined by Section 4022 of the code, without having first established a veterinarian-client-patient relationship with the animal patient or patients and the client.
(b) A veterinarian-client-patient relationship shall exist when all of the following occur:
(1) The veterinarian has assumed responsibility for making medical judgments regarding the health of the animal(s) and the need for medical treatment, has discussed with the client a course of treatment and if applicable has instructed the client as to the appropriate directions for administering the drugs or treatments.
(2) The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal(s). This means that the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the care of the animal(s) by virtue of an examination of the animal or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animals are kept, and
(c) A dangerous drug or a veterinary drug shall not be prescribed for a duration which is inconsistent with the animal patients medical condition or type of drug prescribed which in no event shall exceed more than one year from the date that the veterinarian has examined the animal patient and prescribed such drug, unless the veterinarian has conducted a subsequent examination of the patient to determine the patients continued need for the prescribed drug.