Proposed changes to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Model Veterinary Practice Act would have wide-ranging ramifications for the farrier industry.

The most significant of the proposed revisions call for the elimination of the farrier exemption from the Model Veterinary Practice Act (MVPA). The proposed elimination of the exemption can be found in Section 6 – Exemptions, subsection 8, Page 17.

This section exempts farriers from Section 2 – Definitions, subsection 15 of the MVPA, which defines “Practice of veterinary medicine,” in part, as:

“1. To diagnose, prognose, treat, correct, change, alleviate, or prevent animal disease, illness, pain, deformity, defect, injury, or other physical, dental, or mental conditions by any method or mode; including the:

  1. performance of any medical or surgical procedure, or
  2. prescription, dispensing, administration, or application of any drug, medicine, biologic, apparatus, anesthetic, or other therapeutic or diagnostic substance, or
  3. use of any complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies, or …
  1. determination of the health, fitness, or soundness of an animal, or
  2. rendering of advice or recommendation by any means including telephonic and other electronic communications with regard to any of the above.”

Further, the current MVPA — which was enacted in 2013 — prohibits the use of “any title, words, abbreviation, or letters in a manner or under circumstances that induce the belief that the person using them is qualified to do any act described in subsection 16(a).

Michael San Filippo, AVMA’s senior media relations specialist, told American Farriers Journal that he is not aware of the AVMA’s reasoning behind the proposed MVPA changes relating to farriers. AFJ will continue to closely follow and report developments surrounding the proposed revisions to the MVPA online, as well as the upcoming March 2018 issue.

The AVMA is accepting comments about the proposed changes until Sunday, March 25, 2018.

“This open comment period provides veterinarians and others with a unique opportunity to make their voices heard on a matter that directly impacts the daily practice of veterinary medicine,” according to a news release attributed to Dr. Mike Topper, AVMA president. “The AVMA — indeed, the entire profession — is stronger when diverse perspectives are considered.”

Topper is a board-certified veterinary pathologist. He retired in 2017 after 12 years as director of clinical pathology at Merck Research Laboratories, Merck & Co., Inc., in West Point, Pa.

A group will review all comments at the end of the comment period. Recommendations from the group will be sent to the Council on Veterinary Service for further review. The AVMA Board of Directors will consider the final draft of the revised MVPA.

To provide your comment and suggested changes to the MVPA, visit