State Summary Report

 Records Retention

Last updated June 2017

The following is a compilation of state laws that AVMA research has identified governing the retention of veterinary records. Typically states require veterinarians to keep records anywhere from 3-5 years after the last patient exam or treatment. Connecticut, Michigan, and Vermont both require the veterinarian to retain the records for 7 years from the date of the last treatment, or, in Connecticut, 3 years following the death of the patient.

While most states do have laws governing records retention, in deciding how long to keep patient records, consideration must also be given to the statute of limitations upon which the veterinarian may be sued for malpractice.

Note that state veterinary medical boards have the authority to interpret and enforce provisions of veterinary practice acts.  If you have a question about how a particular state law provision applies to individual circumstances in that state, please contact the state's veterinary medical board.  
 

State Number of years veterinary records must be kept
Alabama 3 years after the last visit
Alaska 5 years
Arizona 3 years following the last treatment
Arkansas 3 years following the last office visit
California 3 years following the last visit
Colorado 3 years since the last patient exam or treatment
Connecticut 7 years from the date of the last treatment or 3 years following the death of a patient

Delaware

3 years from the last entry in the medical record

​District of Columbia (D.C.) ​3 years from the date of the last office visit or discharge of such animal from the animal facility
Florida 3 years after date of last entry
Georgia 3 years after last visit
Idaho 3 years following the last treatment or examination
Illinois 5 years from date of last known contact
Indiana 3 years since the last encounter with the animal
​Iowa ​5 years
Kansas 3 years from the date of the last visit
Kentucky 5 years after the last examination of the patient
Louisiana 5 years
Maryland 3 years after the last visit
Massachusetts 4 years from the last contact with the animal
Michigan 3 years from the date of the last veterinary service/7 years from the date of the last veterinary service (for records created on or after the effective date of the legislation)
Minnesota 3 years after last visit
Missouri 5 years after the last visit for veterinary records; radiographs must be kept for 5 years from the date taken
Montana 3 years after last visit
Nebraska 3 years after the veterinarian;s most recent contact with the client and/or patient
Nevada 4 years
New Hampshire 5 years from the last treatment or examination
New Jersey 5 years from the last visit
New Mexico 4 years after last visit
New York New York regulations state that it is unprofessional conduct to fail to maintain records for a period of at least 3 years
North Carolina 3 years since the last office visit or discharge of such animal from a veterinary facility
North Dakota 3 years from last visit
Ohio 3 years from the last examination
Oklahoma 3 years from last visit
Oregon 3 years following the last treatment or examination
Pennsylvania 3 years from the date that the patient was last treated by the veterinarian
Rhode Island 5 years from last visit, or, for deceased patients/3 years from the date of death
South Carolina 3 years after the last entry
Tennessee 3 years (minimum)
Texas 5 years from the date of last treatment by the veterinarian
Utah 5 years from the date the animal was last treated by the veterinarian
Vermont 7 years from the date of last contact regarding the animal
Virginia 3 years from the last office visit or discharge of such animal from a veterinary establishment
Washington 3 years from last treatment
West Virginia​ ​3 years
Wisconsin 3 years from date of last entry
Wyoming

3 years from last visit

 
 
Source:  Staff Research, AVMA Division of State Advocacy & Leadership
Contact:  AVMA Division of State Advocacy & Leadership