State Summary Report

 Records retention

Updated August 2012

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 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.
 

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
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
Kansas 3 years
Kentucky 5 years
Louisiana 5 years
Maryland 3 years after last visit
Massachusetts 4 years from the last contact with a patient
Michigan 3 years from the date of the last veterinary service
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 from the time of the last examination
Nevada 4 years
New Hampshire 5 years
New Jersey 5 years from last visit
New Mexico 3 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 patient exam or treatment
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 last treatment
Rhode Island 5 years from last visit, or, for deceased patients no less than 3 years
South Carolina 3 years after the last entry
Tennessee 3 years (minimum)
Texas 5 years from the anniversary date of the date of last treatment
Utah 5 years from the date the animal was last treated by the veterinarian
Vermont 7 years
Virginia 3 years from last visit
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 State Legislative and Regulatory Department
Contact:  Tara Southwell, State Policy Analyst, AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Department, 847-285-6779.