Practice Guidelines

Law, rules and regulations, not guidelines, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to these guidelines may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations, some citations of which are listed at the end of these guidelines.

Guideline 2: Providing Professional Services

Before providing service it is important that a valid VCPR (see Definition 1.14 and Guideline 5.11) is in place and you have obtained informed consent from the client. In the course of providing professional services,

The veterinarian should:
  1. provide professional services in a timely manner;
  2. conduct a complete physical examination, including, but not limited to, weight (small companion animals), TPR, auscultation of heart and lungs, ocular and otic systems, integument, and musculoskeletal system, on every patient or a number of representative members of a herd or flock;
  3. if providing small companion animal services, assure the availability of an appropriate waiting area for clients and their animals;
  4. provide clients with direct contact information on how to obtain veterinary services in case of emergency, as well as who to contact for services in her/his absence. A sign should be displayed at the entrance of the veterinary facility with a telephone number and location where veterinary care is available when the veterinary facility is closed. An answering machine or service should notify the public of the business hours of the veterinary facility and when veterinary care is available;
  5. assure that housing of in-patients is appropriate for the proper provision of veterinary care;
  6. maintain an appropriate identification system for all animals admitted to the veterinary facility in which the veterinarian practices;
  7. employ appropriately licensed staff;
  8. provide written notice to client(s) should there not be appropriate personnel to assure proper veterinary care at any time while an animal is an in-patient in a veterinary facility. Such notice may be in the form of a clearly legible sign posted in a conspicuous place or a notification on a hospitalization consent form;
  9. advise clients, as appropriate, of any diseases that currently pose an imminent danger to livestock, companion animals, and/or people within the locale;
  10. perform or provide laboratory procedures, as appropriate, for diagnosis and monitoring of medical and/or surgical conditions, including but not limited to:
    1. urinalysis, including microscopic exam of sediment;
    2. hematology, including CBC with differential WBC;
    3. identification of external and internal parasites;
    4. blood/plasma/serum chemistries;
    5. necropsy and histopathology;
    6. serology; and
    7. microbiology.
  11. perform or provide imaging procedures, as appropriate, for the diagnosis and monitoring of patients, in a manner that complies with all currently applicable rules and regulations for safe use of such modalities in the jurisdiction. Veterinarians and veterinary technicians should be familiar with and adhere to all rules of Section 16.54 of the New York State Health Code as it applies to veterinary radiology;
  12. perform or provide access to appropriate diagnostic procedures to monitor cardiac health status, i.e. ECG and/or ultasonography;
  13. when offering disposal service, provide for proper storage of carcasses of animals (refrigeration or freezing) as well as disposal methods that meet all jurisdictional requirements.

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Citations of Pertinent Law, Rules or Regulations:

Last Updated: April 9, 2014