Increases In Alternative Medicine Lead to Practice Act Amendments

Proposed changes in a state veterinary practice act model may allow licensed chiropractors and physical therapists to practice on animals such as horses upon referral by a licensed veterinarian.

This is based on a recent decision by delegates of the America Association of Veterinary State Boards to amend the group’s practice act model. Based on a Nevada law, the proposed changes follow a widespread increase in demand for alternative medical therapies for animals, particularly physical therapy and chiropractic care. The Nevada law was amended to cover chiropractic care in 1999 and in 2004 to include physical therapists.

Under the proposed practice act changes, a professional seeking this authority must apply to be licensed as an animal physical therapist or animal chiropractor by a state veterinary licensing board. With this practice act recommendation, veterinarians would be responsible for examining the animal before referral and treatment, providing the chiropractor or physical therapist with information about any disease carried by the animal that could be transmitted to humans.

The recommendation spells out that vets are not responsible for direct supervision of the chiropractor or physical therapist, are not responsible for their acts and/or omissions and have no responsibility for liability issues with these workers. The group’s practice act recommendations are to educate state boards rather than dictating to them when analyzing possible veterinary practice act changes.

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