1. Providing Veterinary Services
The North Carolina Veterinary Practice Act prohibits an individual from practicing veterinary medicine in this State without first having obtained a license or temporary permit from the Board. The law provides that if an individual practices, or attempts to practice veterinary medicine without being licensed by the NC Board, constitutes a Class-I criminal law misdemeanor.
The penalty for the unauthorized practice of veterinary medicine is set forth in General Statute 90-187.12. Further, such act of unlicensed practice can provide the basis for the Board to file a lawsuit seeking civil injunction against the person(s) in the Superior Court of this State.
NCGS 90-181 Definitions
(6) 'Practice of veterinary medicine' means:
a. To diagnose, treat, correct, change, relieve, or prevent animal disease, deformity, defect, injury, or other physical or mental conditions; including the prescription or administration of any drug, medicine, biologic, apparatus, application, anesthetic, other therapeutic/diagnostic substance or technique on any animal.
2. 'Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship' (VCPR) means that:
NC General Statute 90-181(7a) defines the VCPR as follows:
a. The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making medical judgments regarding the health of the animal and the need for medical treatment, and the client (owner or other caretaker) has agreed to follow the instruction of the veterinarian.
b. There is sufficient knowledge of the animal by the veterinarian to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal. This means that the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal by virtue of an examination of the animal or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal is kept.
c. The practicing veterinarian is readily available or provides for follow-up in case of adverse reactions or failure of the regimen of therapy.
NCGS 90-187.8 Discipline of licensees
(b) The Board may impose and collect from a licensee a civil monetary penalty of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each violation of this Article or a rule adopted under this Article. The amount of the civil penalty, up to the maximum, shall be determined upon a finding of one or more of the following factors:
(18) Selling, dispensing, prescribing, allowing the sale, dispensing, prescription of biologics, controlled substances, drugs or medicines without a veterinarian-client-patient relationship with respect to the sale, dispensing or prescription.
3. Qualifications / Exams / Procedures for application in North Carolina for a:
North Carolina General Statute 90-187 and Administrative Rule .0301 provide information about the qualifications and exam procedures for North Carolina.
Veterinary Technician Registration
North Carolina does NOT accept reciprocity.
4. On-Line Renewals / Continuing Education
Please refer to Administrative Rule .0206 for information about Continuing Education
The renewal window is open around mid-November and closes the last day of February. You may access your account year-round to update your personal information (except name changes), print a copy of your license/registration or add CE.
Renewal Status: License is ACTIVE until December 31st; ACTIVE/IMPENDING from January 1st - January 31st; ACTIVE/LATE February 1st - February 29th; REVOKED on March 1st
Veterinarians: Annually - $170 and 20 CE hours
Veterinary Technicians: Biennially - $50 and 12 CE hours (every 2 years; it is based on the initial year of registration)
Corporations: Annually - $160
NOTE: You are exempt from CE requirements for your FIRST renewal cycle if you meet the following condition: you graduate the same year you became licensed or registered in North Carolina.
Do you need a CE extension? Please go to our Continuing Education page for instructions located at the bottom of the page.
5. Ownership of Veterinary Practices
Only a North Carolina licensed veterinarian can own and operate a veterinary practice facility and deliver services to the public.
Administrative Code .0201 Welfare groups, humane societies or other entities cannot operate and are not able to own veterinary practice facilities in North Carolina. Any advertising or promotions suggesting that someone or entity owns a veterinary practice other than a North Carolina licensed veterinarian, would be considered in violation of the veterinary Practice Act.
Welfare groups, humane societies or other entities are not authorized by law to engage in the delivery of veterinary medical services to the public.
Please refer to Practice Facilities if interested in owning or purchasing a practice.
6. Maintaining / Ownership of Patient Records
Veterinarian must maintain patient records for a period of three (3) years per Administrative Code .0207b(12)(B). These records would include written notations, computerized or digital data, radiographs, communication logs and laboratory reports. Clients often contact the Board office seeking help in obtaining a copy of their medical records. The owner of the patient or group of animals is entitled to a copy of the patient/animals' medical records. The veterinarian or practice to which a request for copies is made shall respond within a reasonable time and may charge a reasonable cost relating to time and expense of reproduction of those copies.
In the February 7, 2002 President's Letter, the Board established the policy when answering questions concerning medical records. All documentation that comprises a medical record including written notations, computerized or digital data, radiographs and laboratory reports are the property of the veterinary practice. However, the owner of the patient or group of animals is entitled to a copy of the patient or animals' medical record.
In March, 1996, NC Assistant Attorney General, Kip D. Sturgis, contacted the Board as a result of complaints received by the Attorney General's office concerning veterinarians and prescriptions. Mr. Sturgis summarized his office concerns as follows: The first concern is on medically unjustified restraint of competition in the market for veterinary medicine. The second is directed to the ethics of these anticompetitive practices that not only place the veterinarian's commercial interest in direct conflict with the animal's owner, but may also undermine the veterinarian's professional purpose to promote animal health by foreseeably leading some owner to delay or forego veterinary treatment of their animals. The third is relected by complaints both agencies have received and focuses on the damage these practices have on the public's perception of veterinarians' professionalism. Read Assistant Attorney General K.D. Sturgis' letter.
If a veterinarian, based upon his/her medical opinion, is willing to dispense medication, then the veterinarian must also provide a prescription in place of said medication should the owner request a prescription. If a veterinarian, based upon his/her medical opinion, is not willing to dispense medication, then it would also be appropriate to deny a request for a prescription.
Federal legislation has been introduced in both the House and the Senate directly involving veterinary prescriptions. The title of this legislation is the Fairness to Pet Owners Act. The House version is HR 3174. The Senate version is S1200.
8. Use of the term 'Veterinary Technician'
General Statute 90-181(11) reserves the term Veterinary Technician, Registered Veterinary Technician or Technician for a person that has graduated from an AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) accredited program in veterinary technology, is registered with this Board, and maintains that registration. In the State of North Carolina, if a person is not registered as a veterinary technician, to directly or indirectly imply such is a misrepresentation to the public and a violation of the veterinary Practice Act.
9. What duties can a 'Veterinary Technician' perform?
General Statute 90-187.6(c) states a veterinary technician may, under the direct supervision of a veterinarian, assist in diagnosis, laboratory analysis, anesthesia, surgical procedures and perform the following duties: collection of specimen, testing for intestinal parasites, collecting blood, testing for heartworms and conducting other laboratory tests, taking radiographs and cleaning & polishing teeth. (Microchipping - see number 36.) They may NOT perform any act producing an irreversible change in the animal (e.g. pulling a tooth).
NOTE: NC Registered veterinary technicians may administer a rabies vaccine under the supervision of a NC licensed veterinarian. Both the technician and veterinarian should sign the rabies certificate.
10. What duties can a 'veterinary assistant / veterinary employee' perform?
General Statute 90-187.6(c) states a veterinary assistant / employee shall be limited to services under the direction and supervision of a NC licensed veterinarian. They may perform such duties as are required in the physical care of animals and in carrying out medical orders as prescribed by the veterinarian, requiring an understanding of animal science but not requiring the professional services set forth in General Statute 90-187.6.
They may perform duties including collection of specimen, testing for intestinal parasites, collecting blood, testing for heartworms and conducting other laboratory tests, taking radiographs, and cleaning & polishing teeth, provided that the employee has had sufficient on-the-job training by a veterinarian to perform these specified duties in a competent manner. It shall be the responsibility of the veterinarian supervising the employee to ascertain that the employee performs these specified duties assigned to the employee in a competent manner. (Microchipping - see number 36.) These specified duties shall be performed under the direct supervision of the veterinarian in charge of administering care to the patient.
The employee may NOT perform any act producing an irreversible change in the animal (e.g. pulling a tooth).
11. Temporary Permits - Two (2) Types Listed Below
Temporary permits allow a qualified applicant to practice veterinary medicine in this state under the supervision of a NC licensed veterinarian for a specific period of time. G.S. 90-187.4
Temporary Permit: For those scheduled to take the NC State Exam
This permit allows an individual who has applied for the NC State Exam to obtain a certificate to practice veterinary medicine under the supervision of a NC licensed veterinarian while awaiting their scheduled test date. To apply for a Temporary Permit, you must first apply for the State Exam. If you've already done so, log in to the Licensure Gateway and select the Temporary Permit application for those taking the exam and submit.
ATTENTION: The Temporary Permit CANNOT be processed until your exam application and all the required documents for the State Exam have been received.
60-Day Temporary Permit: For a Non-Resident Veterinarian
Another type of temporary permit is also available to a non-resident veterinarian validly licensed in another state, territory or district of the United States or a foreign country, provided that such temporary permit shall be issued for a period of no more than sixty (60) days. G.S. 90-187.4 For those seeking a 60-Day Temporary Permit, you must first create an account via the Licensure Gateway. Once registered, you will log back in and select the 60-Day Temporary Permit application to submit.
12. Name Change
In order for the Board to change your name in our system, you will be required to supply a copy of a legal document (e.g. marriage certificate, divorce decree, Social Security Card) reflecting your new name. In addition, be sure to notify us of any address change. There is no charge for this service. Name Change Application
Should you choose, this request may be faxed to (919) 854-5606.
13. Current Information Required by the Board
It is manditory to ensure your personal and work information is kept current within 60 days of any change. Please refer to .0106
14. Fees Relating to Veterinary Medicine
Suggested fees to charge clients are not addressed in the North Carolina Veterinary Practice Act.
15. Sales by Veterinarians Read more...
- Sales of Medicines and Drugs
- Sales of products other than Medicines and Drugs
- Veterinarian's use of a Certificate of Exemption
16. Abandonment of Animals
G.S. 90-187.7 States that any animal placed in the custody of a licensed veterinarian for treatment, boarding or other care, which shall be unclaimed by its owner or agent for a period of more than ten (10) days after written notice by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested to the owner or his agent at his last known address, shall be deemed to be abandoned and may be turned over to the nearest humane society, dog pound, or disposed of as such custodian may deem proper.
The giving of notice to the owner or agent of the owner of such animals by the licensed veterinarian shall relieve the licensed veterinarian and any custodian to whom such animal may be given of any further liability for disposal.
18. Rabies Vaccine Information
Contact the NC Department of Public Health, Epidemiology at (919) 733-3419 also their after hours EMERGENCY.
Vaccination Requirements and Guidelines
Memorandum from Dr. Carl Williams
Protocol for dogs, cats and ferrets exposed to rabies
NOTE: NC Registered Veterinary Technicians may administer a rabies vaccine under the supervision of a NC licensed veterinarian. Both the technician and the veterinarian should sign the rabies certificate.
19. Disposing of NON-Controlled Medications
20. Disposing Controlled Substances / Expired Narcotics - Do not throw them away with your trash!
DEA: Drug Disposal
How do I dispose of expired/unwanted substances?
Contact a NC-DCU agent at 919-733-1765 or NCCSAREG@dhhs.nc.gov and submit Form-41 to the DEA office, using a DEA registered controlled substances disposal form OR re-distribute to the original supplying/manufacturing company where the chemical was obtained.
21. DEA - Call Center at 800-882-9539
Greensboro, NC - Phone: (336) 547-4219
Atlanta, GA - Phone: (888) 869-9935 or (404) 893-7165
Questions and Answers
Theft/Loss of controlled substances must be reported to DEA. Submit DEA Form 106 and follow all DEA regulations regarding this matter.
If selling or transferring your practice, contact the Drug Control Unit for instructions on how to transfer the drugs.
22. Drug Logs / Drug Receipts
DEA Regulation 21 CFR 1304.04(a) requires: All controlled substance records are required to be maintained for two (2) years.
NC Board of Pharmacy, see Administrative Code 21 NCAC 46.1810
24. Controlled Substance Regulation
If two (2) or more veterinarians are working out of the same cache of controlled substances, the facility the veterinarians are working out of must be registered with the NC Controlled Substances Regulatory branch. Read more...
25. NC DHHS: Division of Health Service Regulation - Radiation Protection Section
Steps to Install X-Ray Equipment / Register a Facility
26. NC Division of Waste Management
Medical Waste Guidelines & Interpretations
Their mission is to train and prepare professionals in the animal care community to respond to disaster events (all hazards) that affect both production and companion animals.
28. Heartworm Testing
29. Animal Importation / Exportation
FAQ - Centers for Disease Control
30. Privilege License
Required for veterinarians providing services in North Carolina.
Application for NC State Privilege License.
31. Inactive Status: A status you may want to consider if contemplating retirement
A veterinarian may elect 'Inactive Status' by submitting a letter of request to the Board office. To qualify, you must be in good standing with the Board and NOT be practicing veterinary medicine in any state. Administrative Code .0309
32. Reinstating you License/Registration
A veterinarian/technician may be reinstated at any time once requirements are met and a "Reinstatement" form is submitted on-line. Please go to our 'License/Registration' page for details.
GS 90-187.9; NCAC .0108; NCAC .0308
33. After Hours Emergency Services
The veterinarian who is the owner, as well as the veterinarian who is in charge of the facility, shall provide after-hours emergency service by one or more of the methods listed below.
.0207 Minimum Facility and Practice Standards in Parts (b)(19)(A) through (D) of the NC Administrative Code. If after house emergency services shall be provided other than by the veterinarian who is the owner or who is the veterinarian in charge of the facility, the name, address and telephone numbers of the provider of the after-hours emergency service shall be posted prominently at the facility in areas where this information is likely to be seen by persons comint to the entrances of the facility.
(A) Availability by telephone, pager or answering machine; or
(B) Membership in an after-hours emergency services facility or organization that agrees with the veterinarian to assume the responsibility for this care; or
(C) An agreement for this care with another facility located in the same general community, area or region served by the primary facility and which provides after hours emergency service; or
(D) Notification of the name, address, and telephone numbers of an emergency veterinary service facility, open to the public, which provides after hours emergency service, located in the same general community, area or region served by the primary facility.
34. Data Requests
If you are interested in requesting data, please go to our Misc. Requests page for instructions.
35. License Verifications
Please submit this request form if you are a veterinarian or veterinary technician. Pharmacies, banks or other entities seeking confirmation of NC licensure or veterinarians or registration of veterinary technicians can contact the Board off at (919) 854-5601.
36. Minimum Facility and Practice Standards
SECTION .0207 - The minimum standards for all facilities where veterinary medicine is practiced
37. Health Certificates
For International and state-to-state, please go to our Useful Links page for contact information located in the 'Veterinarians' Section.
The microchipping procedure must be performed by a veterinarian or a registered veterinary technician (RVT) employed by the veterinarian directly supervised by the veterinarian. The term 'direct supervision' means that the veterinarian is on the premises and readily available to answer questions or assist the employee being supervised. Further, an existing veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) is not required prior to microchipping being performed by the veterinarian (or by their supervised RVT). A VCPR is established with the performing of the microchipping procedure.