Alternative Therapeutic Options


In many states, although often considered a therapeutic option or alternate therapy, the practice of acupuncture, animal “chiropractic”, magnetic field therapy, massage, homeopathy, and physical therapy are considered to be within the scope of veterinary medicine and therefore unlawful for non-veterinarians to perform these services.

While some states do allow veterinarians to delegate the performance of these modalities to non-veterinarians, the service typically must be provided either under the veterinarian’s direct supervision or by referral once certain criteria is met.

If you are performing these types of services on animals other than your own, depending on your state law you may be practicing veterinary medicine without a license. If so, your state’s veterinary licensing board may get involved by sending you a cease-and-desist letter, followed by a complaint and summons to an administrative court hearing.

In some states, the state’s prosecuting attorney’s office may also get involved as well. States including Florida, Michigan, Nevada, and New York considered it a felony to practice veterinary medicine without a license within the state. Many other states consider it a misdemeanor. You may also be exposing yourself to increased liability in an action by the animal’s owner under your state’s civil law.

If you are offering these services to animal owners, consider contacting a knowledgeable attorney licensed in your state to discuss your state’s requirements or to obtain properly drafted referral and informed consent forms.

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