Coalition of Industry Members Addresses the Scope of Veterinary Practice at First Meeting

The issue of physical therapists, chiropractors and acupuncturists working on animals without a veterinarian’s supervision, and their legal attempts to change state practice acts so that they can legally do so, has made headlines across the country.

Two attempts to change veterinary practice acts in Rhode Island and Mississippi failed in 2004, but industry sources, who emphasized the importance of maintaining a veterinary gate-keeper role, suspect that the issue will resurface.

On Aug. 16-17, 2004, representatives of a newly formed Coalition on the Scope of Veterinary Practice met in Denver, Colo., to discuss ways that veterinary professionals can prepare for and influence such attempts.

“The coalition’s intention is to provide information to policy makers as they consider requests to engage non-veterinarians in the delivery of animal healthcare,” according to the coalition statement released Aug. 17.

The coalition comprises representatives from 12 veterinary organizations, but details about the identities of coalition members and a timeframe for action were not released at press time. The coalition did announce its intention to develop a white paper to discuss “the issues and address the veterinarian’s role as primary provider of animal healthcare,” in a statement.