Veterinarian-client-patient relationship

​The veterinarian-client-patient relationship is the basis for veterinary care. To establish such a relationship the following conditions must be satisfied:

  1. The licensed veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making medical judgments regarding the health of the patient(s) and the need for medical therapy and has instructed the client on a course of therapy appropriate to the circumstance.
  2. There is sufficient knowledge of the patient(s) by the veterinarian to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition(s) of the patient(s).
  3. The client has agreed to follow the licensed veterinarian's recommendations.
  4. The licensed veterinarian is readily available for follow up evaluation or has arranged for:
    1. Emergency or urgent care coverage, or
    2. Continuing care and treatment has been designated by the veterinarian with the prior relationship to a licensed veterinarian who has access to the patient's medical records and/or who can provide reasonable and appropriate medical care.
  5. The veterinarian provides oversight of treatment.
  6. Such a relationship can exist only when the veterinarian has performed a timely physical examination of the patient(s) or is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the patient(s) by virtue of medically appropriate and timely visits to the operation where the patient(s) is(are) kept or both.
  7. Patient records are maintained.

Relevant AVMA policy:

Additional resources: