A summary of state laws on the retention of veterinary patient records is now available on the AVMA Web site.
Typically, states require veterinarians to keep records for three to five years after the most recent patient examination or treatment. Connecticut and Vermont both require veterinarians to retain records for seven years from the date of the most recent treatment—or, in Connecticut, three years following the death of the patient.
While most states do have laws regarding retention of records, veterinarians should also consider the statute of limitations for malpractice lawsuits in deciding how long to keep patient records.
The summary of laws on records retention is at www.avma.org/advocacy/state/issues/ under Business issues. The actual text of the law in a particular state is available by contacting Tara Madson, state policy analyst, AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department; phone, (800) 248-2862, ext. 6779; firstname.lastname@example.org.