State Summary Report

 Scope of Practice: Complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM) and other practice act exemptions

Last updated April 2014

The following chart summarizes key provisions of state veterinary practice acts and accompanying regulations that AVMA research found relating to common complementary and alternative treatments (CAVM) such as chiropractic, acupuncture and physical therapy. The chart also lists other exemptions from the definition of veterinary medicine, such as those for animal owners, farming/livestock practices, artificial insemination, equine teeth floating/cleaning, and embryo removal or transfer.

A handful of states do not have provisions specifically addressing CAVM. In these states, be sure to read carefully the state's general definition of veterinary medicine, as well as the definition of scope of practice of other licensed professions such as chiropractic and physical therapy.

About 20 states follow the AVMA Model Veterinary Practice Act by including CAVM in the definition of veterinary medicine, while another 20 states or so have enacted specific or general exemptions for regulated therapies, generally requiring some type of veterinary input such as supervision or referral.

Please keep in mind that these are general summaries only, and for a comprehensive analysis of practice act scope and exemptions in a particular state, you are strongly advised to review the full text of the statute and regulations, and/or consult a local attorney knowledgeable in this field. The current laws and regulations can be found on most state legislative web sites. See http://www.avma.org/advocacy/state/resources/default.asp

State veterinary medical associations are also excellent sources of information about their state's practice act. https://www.avma.org/advocacy/stateandlocal/statevma/pages/default.aspx

Also note that laws and regulations are amended occasionally, so be sure to be working with the current version.

STATE INCLUDED IN THE PRACTICE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE EXEMPTIONS
Alabama Acupuncture
Dentistry
Animal psychology
Animal chiropractic
Theriogenology
Surgery (including cosmetic)
Animal massage by a massage therapist under the direction of a licensed veterinarian
Removing embryo to cryopreserve, transplant or implant
Animal owner or his regular employee
Alaska Dentistry Artificial insemination
Farrier
Animal owner or employee
Arizona Veterinary surgery
Obstetrics
Dentistry
Acupuncture
Manipulation
All other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine
Certified equine dental practitioners under the general supervision of a licensed veterinarian
Treating an animal with no compensation
Animal owner or employee
Arkansas Veterinary surgery
Theriogenology
Dentistry
Acupuncture
Animal psychology
Chiropractic
Animal chiropractic under the immediate supervision of an Arkansas licensed veterinarian
Horseshoeing
Training
Selling medicines for the treatment of animal diseases
Collecting, preparing or freezing semen
Nonsurgical artificial insemination
Animal owner or employee
California Surgical or dental operations

Animal Chiropractic by a licensed chiropractor under the direct supervision of a veterinarian

Determination as to status of pregnancy, sterility, infertility of livestock, equine, food animals at time of insemination, if free of charge
Gratuitous assistance to owner
Animal owner or employee

Any person may utilize cotton swabs, gauze, dental floss, dentifrice, or toothbrushes on an animal's teeth

Colorado Artificial insemination
Dentistry (does not include certain teeth cleaning or preventative dental procedures)
Transrectal procedures, embryo transfer, uterine lavages, and reproductive procedures

Accepted livestock management practices
Physical therapy – a licensed physical therapist may perform physical therapy on an animal with veterinary medical clearance.
Animal Chiropractic- a licensed chiropractor may perform animal chiropractic when such chiropractic diagnosis and treatment is consistent with the scope of practice for chiropractors and the animal has been provided a veterinary medical clearance by a licensed veterinarian.
Animal massage – any person may perform massage on an animal if the person does not prescribe drugs, perform surgery, or diagnose medical conditions and has earned a degree or certificate in animal massage from an approved school
Animal owner or employee
Any person may assist in a surgical procedure under the immediate supervision of a licensed veterinarian, who is responsible for the person's performance.

Dentistry - The practice of dentistry may be delegated to veterinary personnel under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian

Connecticut Animal dentistry Euthanizing of animals in accordance with applicable state and federal drug laws by the Connecticut Humane Society
Teeth floating
Delaware Artificial insemination
Dentistry
Support activities under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian
Animal owner and employee
District of Columbia Dentistry Artificial insemination with approval from DC government
Animal owner or employee
Florida Surgery
Acupuncture
Obstetrics
Dentistry
Physical therapy
Radiology
Theriogenology
Other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine
Out-of-state veterinarians practicing temporarily in the state
Part-time or temporary basis hires, or independent contractors hired by an owner to assist with herd management and animal husbandry tasks for herd and flock animals, including castration, dehorning, parasite control, and debeaking, or a person hired on a part-time or temporary basis, or as an independent contractor, by an owner to provide farriery and manual hand floating of teeth on equines
Animal owner or employee
Georgia Acupuncture
Dentistry
Manual or mechanical adjustment procedures
Physical therapy
Surgery
Diagnostic veterinary pathology

Teeth cleaning
Acceptable livestock management practices
Any other licensed or registered health care provider utilizing his or her special skills so long as the treatment of the animal is under the direction of a licensed veterinarian with a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship
Soft tissue animal massage or other forms of soft tissue animal manipulation
Aquaculture or raniculture management practices
Implanting electronic identification devices in small companion animals
Animal owner or employee

Hawaii Dentistry Farmers assisting each other with husbandry practices
Animal owner or employee
Idaho Surgery
Obstetrics
Dentistry
All other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine
Artificial insemination
Allied health professional participating in procedure within his/her scope of practice and under direct supervision of actively licensed veterinarian
Livestock owner
Insemination of domestic animals as provided in statute
Teeth cleaning
Illinois Complementary, alternative, or integrative veterinary medical procedures including:
Chiropractic
Physical therapy
Animal acupuncture
Animal acutherapy
Animal acupressure
Veterinary homeopathy
Animal psychology
Artificial insemination
Dental
Veterinary nutraceutical therapy
Veterinary phytotherapy

An individual providing equine dentistry services requested by a veterinarian, an owner or an owner's agent
Animal owner or employee

Member in good standing of another licensed or regulated profession acting with informed consent from the client and under direct or indirect supervision and control of a veterinarian. 

Indiana Surgical or dental operation
Complementary or alternative therapy
Animal owner or regular employee
Iowa Veterinary surgery, veterinary obstetrics, veterinary dentistry, animal physical therapy, veterinary acupuncture and acupressure, animal chiropractic, and all other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine Accepted livestock practices
Artificial insemination
Horseshoeing and trimming feet
Animal owner
Kansas Acupuncture
Surgical or dental operations
Animal psychology
Animal chiropractic
Theriogenology
Artificial insemination
Independent contractor under direct or indirect supervision of veterinarian as specified by regulation
Animal owner or regular employee
Kentucky Artificial insemination
Dentistry
Acupuncture
Manipulation
All other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine
Castration and dehorning of farm animals
Trainer, agent or herdsman in context of veterinary-patient relationship
Embryo transfers as specified in statute/rules
Animal owner or regular employee
Louisiana Veterinary surgery
Obstetrics
Dentistry
All other branches of veterinary medicine
Accepted livestock management practices
Artificial insemination
Equine dentistry
Animal owner or regular employee
Alternative and collaborative therapy with veterinary supervision. Alternative and collaborative therapy includes:
ultrasonography, magnetic field therapy, holistic medicine, homeopathy, animal chiropractic treatment, animal acupuncture, animal physical therapy, animal massage therapy, laser therapy, ophthalmology, cardiology, neurology, radiology, and oncology
Maine Acupuncture
Dentistry
Homeopathic procedures
Chiropractic procedures
Physical or massage therapy
Implanting of microchips
Artificial insemination
Artificial insemination
Horseshoeing and trimming feet
Animal owner or caretaker
Maryland Dentistry
Artificial insemination
Accepted livestock management practices
Acupuncture under the supervision of a veterinarian
Teeth floating/cleaning
Farrier
Manual procedure to diagnose or treat sterility or infertility
Trimming and maintaining horse hooves by a farrier or a specified person
Animal owner
Massachusetts   Accepted livestock management practices
Veterinary or surgical works
The giving of advice to a neighbor by a person who does not hold himself out as a veterinarian or receive compensation
Michigan   Licensed chiropractor with veterinary supervision
Animal owner
Minnesota Artificial insemination Chiropractic care by registered chiropractors when referred by a veterinarian and using a separate space to treat animals
Equine teeth floating
Dehorning cattle and goats
Castration of cattle, swine, goats and sheep
Docking sheep
Licenses for farriery are issued by the racing authority pursuant to rule - not mentioned outside of racing
Animal owner or regular employee
Mississippi Dental
Complementary, alternative and integrative therapies including:
Acupuncture
Acutherapy
Acupressure
Homeopathy
Osteopathy
Chiropractic
Physical therapy
Nutraceutical therapy
Phytotherapy
Diagnosing of pregnancy in cattle and other livestock
Accepted livestock management practices approved by the Board
Docking sheep
Horseshoeing
Assistance of another licensed professional requested by veterinarian and under his/her direct or indirect supervision
A licensed chiropractor may manipulate/adjust animals under the direct supervision of a licensed Mississippi doctor of veterinary medicine
Animal owner or regular employee
Missouri Acupuncture
Dentistry
Animal Psychology
Animal Chiropractic
Theriogenology
Animal owner or employee
Montana Artificial insemination
Dental
Acupuncture
Accepted livestock management practices
Pregnancy testing by animal owner/agent or performed gratuitously
Embryo transfer under the supervision of veterinarian
Owner of farm animals or owner's employee
Nebraska Veterinary Surgery
Obstetrics
Dentistry
All other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine
Artificial insemination
Animal Therapy- by a licensed animal therapist with a letter of referral from a licensed veterinarian.
Owner of livestock or a bona fide farm or ranch employee may perform retrievable embryo transplantation on a bovine including recovering, freezing, and transferring embryos, any act of vaccination, surgery, pregnancy testing, or the administration of drugs in the treatment of domestic animals under his or her custody or ownership
Dehorning or castrating livestock, not to include equidae
Retrievable transplantation of embryos on bovine, including recovering, freezing, and transferring, if the procedure is performed by a person who holds a doctorate degree in animal science with an emphasis in reproductive physiology, and can show proof of valid professional liability insurance
Nevada Acupuncture
Dentistry
Chiropractic procedures
Animal chiropractor or physical therapist with certification under direction of veterinarian
Accepted livestock management practices
New Hampshire Veterinary Surgery
Obstetrics
Dentistry
All other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine
Artificial insemination
Accepted livestock management practices
Animal owner or employee
Physical Therapy: The Board of Veterinary Medicine has jurisdiction over physical therapists practicing on animals. A physical therapist may be certified by the Board to perform animal physical therapy. In order to treat an animal, he or she must receive a referral from a licensed veterinarian. An animal physical therapist treating an animal shall provide to the referring veterinarian: (1) a written evaluation within 7 days after initial evaluation; (2) any additional progress notes every 30 days; and (3) notice of discharge or termination of treatment.
New Jersey Acupuncture
Dental
Animal Chiropractic
Theriogenology
Alternative or complementary veterinary medicine
Embryo transfer
Artificial insemination
Animal owner
New Mexico Artificial insemination
Dentistry
All other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine
Chiropractic
Physical therapy
Acupuncture
Acupressure
Embryo transfer
Accepted livestock management
Veterinary technicians or persons holding or training for valid permits for artificial insemination or diagnosing pregnancy
Chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture, acupressure and embryo transfer under the direct supervision of licensed veterinarian
New York Subcutaneous insertion of a microchip Licensed dentist under direct veterinary supervision
North Carolina Dentistry
All other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine
Dehorn or castrate food animals
Providing for or assistance in the practice of artificial insemination
Animal owner
North Dakota Dentistry
Chiropractic
Acupuncture
All other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine
Livestock owner and employees
Embryo transfers on cows
Animal owner
Ohio Complementary alternative and integrative therapies
Surgical embryo transfer
Dentistry
Non-surgical embryo transfer by animal owner or owner's designee under direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
Accepted Livestock Management Practices including: Acts of tagging, ear notching, hoof trimming, deworming, branding, artificial insemination, including semen collection, preparation and freezing.
Owner's agent may perform with the advice and consent of a licensed veterinarian who has provided training and oversight consistent with standard herd management practices: castration, tail docking, non-surgical dehorning, intravenous fluid administration, pregnancy detection other than by rectal technique, medication and biological administration, except for those prohibited by law, and phlebotomy.
Oklahoma Dentistry
Complementary and alternative therapies including:
Physical therapy
Massage therapy
Osteopathic therapy
Energy therapies
Ayurveda
Aromatherapy
Flower remedy therapy
Holistic medicine
Homeopathy
Nutritional therapy
Phytotherapy
Animal chiropractic
Artificial insemination
Complementary and alternative medicine may be performed under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian
Licensed chiropractors certified by the Board of Chiropractic Examiners may engage in animal chiropractic diagnosis and treatment – which includes vertebral subluxation complex and spinal manipulation
Non-certified chiropractors may provide chiropractic treatment including vertebral subluxation complex and spinal manipulation to an animal referred by a licensed veterinarian
All chiropractic physicians certified by the Board in the practice of animal chiropractic diagnosis and treatment shall be issued a certification card, and must carry the certification card with them at all times.
Individuals certified in animal massage therapy who acquire liability insurance may engage in animal massage therapy after referral from a licensed veterinarian
Animal husbandry, dehorning, branding, tagging or notching ears, teeth floating, farriery, pregnancy checking, collecting semen, preparing semen, freezing semen, castrating, worming, vaccinating, injecting or artificial insemination of farm animals or the acts or conduct of a person advising with respect to nutrition, feeds or feeding
Animal owner or employee
Non-veterinary equine dental care (if provider is certified)
The State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners can certify an individual as a nonveterinary reproductive services technician beginning November 1, 2011
Oregon Dental
Embryo transfer or pregnancy, sterility or fertility evaluation
Allied health professionals upon referral from a licensed veterinarian
Physical therapy with a referral
Animal owner or agent or employee may perform veterinary medicine and surgery or dentistry - as well as dehorning and vaccinating cattle
Pennsylvania Dental
Implanting microchips as determined by the Board
Embryo transfer
Chiropractic, dental, dental hygiene and physical therapy procedures performed upon animals by licensed individuals in conjunction with the practice of veterinary medicine and under the direct supervision of a veterinarian
Embryo transplantation when performed by an animal owner or his or her employee or when any person independently, with indirect veterinary supervision, implants any embryo into an animal
Normal husbandry practices on bovine, porcine, caprine, ovine or equine animals or avis
Grooming services
Farriery
Animal owner or employee or agent
Rhode Island Dentistry  
South Carolina Embryo transplants Veterinarians may delegate the performance of procedures, therapeutic options and alternate therapies, under certain conditions, including acupuncture, manipulation and adjustment, magnetic field therapy, holistic medicine, homeopathy, herbology/naturopathy, massage, and physical therapy
Artificial insemination
Animal owner or regular employee
South Dakota Treatment of an animal of whatever nature Poultry services
Livestock owner or employee or free service
Tennessee Embryo transfer (but see exemption)
Dentistry
All other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine
Artificial insemination of non-livestock animals
Chiropractic
Radiology
Acupuncture
Animal psychology
Ultrasonography
Homeopathy
Herbology
Naturopathy
The use of complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies
Pregnancy testing (but see exemption)
Accepted livestock management practice
Artificial insemination of livestock
Castrating
Dehorning
Animal owner or regular employee
Embryo transfer from own food animal
Manual procedure for testing of pregnancy in bovines by farmers not compensated and results are for owner's use only
Texas Reproduction and obstetrics
Dentistry
Ophthalmology
Dermatology
Cardiology
Any other discipline or specialty of veterinary medicine
Acupuncture
Homeopathy
Accepted livestock management practices approved by the Board
Musculoskeletal manipulation and chiropractic may be practiced under the supervision of a veterinarian
Equine dentistry may be performed by a licensed equine dental provider
Animal owner or agent
Utah Dentistry
Implanting a microchip
Holistic medicine including:
Herbal medicine
Acupuncture
Chiropractic
Homeopathy
Applied kinesiology
Vaccination of poultry
Pullorum testing
Typhoid testing of poultry
Related poultry disease control activity
Nonsurgical bovine artificial insemination
Certified licensed chiropractor with veterinary referral
Certified licensed physical therapist with veterinary referral
Certified licensed massage therapist with veterinary referral
Certified licensed acupuncturist with veterinary referral
Animal owner or employee
Vermont   Accepted livestock management practices and animal husbandry practices such as artificial insemination, dehorning, clipping and shoeing animals, trimming feet and use of handheld files, rasps or other devices to remove overgrowth from the teeth of horses (floating) but not including the extraction of teeth or other procedures that invade the skin tissue of the mouth
Animal owner or regular employee
Virginia Dentistry
Embryo transfer

Registered equine dental technicians under regulation of the Board of Veterinary Medicine with veterinary supervision in some circumstances

Massage therapy or physical therapy may be delegated by a veterinarian to persons qualified by training and experience by an order from the veterinarian.

​Persons permitted or authorized by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries may provide care for wildlife

Animal owner or employee

Washington Implementation of microchip Owner assisted in practice gratuitously
Castrating and dehorning of cattle, castrating and docking of sheep, castrating of swine, caponizing of poultry, or artificial insemination of animals
Certified animal massage therapists
Animal owner or employee
West Virginia Embryo transfer Dental operations by a licensed veterinarian or veterinary assistant under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian
Accepted livestock management practices
Animal owner or employee
Wisconsin   Artificial insemination
Pregnancy examinations of animals if engaged in prior to 2/11/1968
Castrating male livestock including bovine animals, sheep, goats, swine, farm-raised deer and equine animals
Dehorning or branding
Wyoming Dentistry
Cosmetic surgery
Physiological examination
Persons approved by the Board to perform artificial insemination, or embryo transplants, or nonsurgical embryo transfer on animals, excepting dogs and cats
Animal owner or employee

Source:    Staff research, AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Department
Contact:  Adrian Hochstadt, Assistant Director, AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department, 847-285-6780.