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Frequently Asked Questions
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Below are frequently asked questions that the MVMA office staff has received. Please contact the office if you have a question that isn't mentioned here and we'd be happy to help you (or point you in the right direction)!

Click on one of the below topics to jump through the FAQ page or simply scroll through for answers to all questions.

General Practice

Continuing Education


Controlled Substances



Mobile and Relief Veterinarians


Complementary Medicine

General Practice


Q:  How long is it required to keep medical records, including x-rays?

A:  Four (4) years after the last contact with the animal, even if the animal is deceased. Read more HERE.


Q: Are veterinarians allowed to hold an animal or withhold medical records if there is an outstanding open amount owed to the practice?

A: No, a veterinarian may not hold an animal even if there is money owed. Regarding medical records, upon the request of the owner, a licensee shall provide copies of medical records and radiographs to the owner of an animal or another veterinarian. A reasonable fee may be charged for the cost of such copies.


Q: What services/goods can be taxed in the state of Massachusetts?

A: Non-prescription products, companion animal prescriptions, food animal prescriptions. Read more HERE.

Q: Do you have to be a licensed veterinarian to own a practice in Massachusetts?

A: No, you do not have to be a licensed veterinarian to own a practice in MA. 


Q: What are the guidelines to classifying veterinary facilities?

A: Read more HERE.


Q: How do I know which materials are considered hazardous and how to dispose of them if they are?

A: It is up to the veterinarian to determine what is considered “hazardous.” Call a licensed Waste Transporter (list can be found on the Depart. Of Environmental Protection site) and they can help determine what is hazardous (they will tell you what to test for). There are no set guidelines.

Source: John Kronopolus, DEP, 508.767.2757


Q: Can the Board of Veterinary Medicine perform inspections on the weekend?

A: They have gone on-site on weekends.  However, they don’t perform random inspections on weekends as most places have limited hours or are closed then. On occasion, when they are investigating a specific allegation, they may go on a weekend if necessary. Source: Leija Meadows, Board Administration.

Q: Can I turn away a veterinary inspector?

A: The Board conducts impromptu Inspections. There is an automatic $500.00 fine to turn away a state veterinary inspector. Therefore, prepare your staff in the event of your absence. 


Q: I have a client who has not paid an outstanding balance and had no previously negotiated payment plan - can I withhold a prescription renewal?



Q: Is a radiation license required for new x-ray machines?

A: Yes, you do need to obtain a license. What needs to happen is you will have to get a Shielding Design Package sent to you (if you call the RCP they will send it out). This package will let you know what needs to be submitted, which includes how the x-ray machine will be built in the facility. An inspection will then be done to make sure everything is safe and the machine was built according to what was submitted. There is also a fee involved in this process. (Source: Jennie, Radiation Control Program, 617-242-3053).


Continuing Education


Q: How many hours of CE may I obtain online?

A: Not more than six hours shall be acquired through home study or other mediated instruction. Read more HERE.


Q: What is the rule for continuing education in first year of licensure?

A: It is Board policy that all new licensees are exempt from the Continuing Education requirements for the license period that includes the date of initial licensure, unless the new license was obtained by reciprocity. The Board does encourage new licensees to voluntarily take continuing education during their first year of licensure. Read more HERE.

Q: Do I have any options if I am unable to complete the annual CE requirements needed to renew my license?

A: The Board may, at its discretion, fully waive or extend the deadline of the continuing education requirements for any licensee who, for reasons of health, disability, out of state military service, or undue hardship, cannot meet the requirements. Licensees shall submit such requests to the Board in writing. The Board can make exceptions/grant extensions under certain circumstances. Contact them directly to see if you are eligible: Phone 617-727-3080; Email Read more HERE.



Q: What information is required to be on prescription labels?

A: Read guidelines from the Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine HEREYou can purchase tamper-resistant pads through Curry Printing. Click HERE to go to their order portal.


Q: Is a client allowed to take a prescription to whatever pharmacy he/she prefers?

A: Yes, at the request of a client a veterinarian shall provide prescription to the pharmacy of choice. Read more HERE.


Q: I know in human pharmacy it is illegal in the state of Massachusetts to cut pills for clients. Does the same apply in the Veterinarian pharmacy?

A: Because splitting pills falls under the definition of “manufacturing,” you are not technically allowed to legally split pills. This is because splitting the pills would mean you are adjusting the dosage, which is not permitted. (Source: Adele Audet, MDPH, Drug Control program)


Q: Can veterinary clinics fill prescriptions for other veterinarians to use?

A: No, a veterinary clinic cannot act as a drug supplier for other veterinarians. (Source: Leija Meadows, Board Administration)


Q: Am I allowed to charge a fee to write a hard copy prescription for a client?

A: There is no federal law preventing your veterinarian from charging you a fee for their services and time invested in writing a prescription. Some veterinarians charge a nominal fee for writing prescriptions, but others don't. Individual states might have specific guidance for veterinarians on prescription fees. Read more HERE.


Q: What are the current regulations regarding prescribing Gabapentin? 

A:  haWhile the FDA has NOT changed the schedule of Gabapentin, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has added it to the list of drugs that must be reported to the Prescription Monitoring Program. While this does not affect veterinarians, it does affect pharmacies when dispensing Gabapentin. Read more HERE.


Controlled Substances  


Q: Can Tramadol prescriptions be transmitted via fax?

A: Yes. On August 18, 2014, the DEA placed Tramadol into Schedule IV of the Controlled Substance Act.  As a Schedule IV medication, it is permissible to fax a prescription for Tramadol from a Physician/Veterinarians’ office to a pharmacy for filling. Read more HERE.


Q: Is there a limit to how much Tramadol can be prescribed at one time?

A: The prescription for Tramadol, as a controlled substance, may only be issued by an individual practitioner who is either registered with the DEA or exempt from registration. 21 CFR 1306.03. A prescription for a controlled substance must also be issued for a legitimate medical purpose by an individual practitioner acting in the course of his professional practice. 21 CFR 1306.04(a). Upon the effective date of this rule, Tramadol prescriptions may be filled up to six months after the date prescribed, and may be refilled up to five times within six months after the date on which such prescription was issued. 21 U.S.C. 829(b); 21 CFR 1306.22 (a) and (e); see also 21 CFR 1306.23 (b) and (c). In addition, there are no dosage unit limitations for prescriptions for schedule III, IV, or V controlled substances unless the controlled substance is prescribed for administration to an ultimate user who is institutionalized. 21 CFR 1306.24(c). Read more HERE.

Q: Am I allowed to provide barbiturates for the purpose of euthanasia to my local Animal Control Officer? 





Q: Are there exemptions for an animal to be vaccinated?

A: (d) A licensing authority may grant an exemption from this section for a dog, cat or ferret that:

(i) the local board of health has declared exempt from the rabies vaccination requirement upon presentation of a veterinarian’s certificate stating that because of an infirmity, other physical condition or regimen of therapy, such inoculation is considered inadvisable for a specified period of time for such reasons; (ii) is in transit; or (iii) was brought into the commonwealth temporarily for the sole purpose of display in a show or for exhibition.

(e) This section shall not apply to a dog, cat or ferret housed in a research institution. 
The legitimate reasons for exemption relate to allergic reactions resulting in anaphylaxis, or some form of immune mediated disease. Mild reactions like rashes do not outweigh the public health significance of leaving an animal susceptible. Read more HERE.

Q: Can anyone other than a licensed veterinarian administer a rabies vaccination?

A: No, only a licensed veterinary can administer a rabies vaccination. Other vaccines can be given under the immediate supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Technically, a veterinarian may only administer rabies to an animal after a VCPR is established but because it is a public health issue the rules are a little more lenient. Read more HERE.


Q: Can an animal that was intended to be on a 3 year rabies series still do so if they did not receive the primary series?

A: Primary Series- First rabies shot given to an animal, always only good for one year. Next shot is given between 9-12 months. If the animal does not receive primary series, it will never be eligible for 3 year rabies vaccine regardless if it is meant to be for 3 years.




Q: Do I need to directly supervise my assistant while he or she administers a microchip?

A: Microchipping pets is a veterinary procedure that should only be performed by a licensed veterinarian or under supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Read more HERE.  


Q: I have been presented with a new patient. I scanned the animal and the chip does not match that of the client presenting the animal for care. How do I know who the real owner is, the individual in possession of the animal or the individual listed on the microchip registration?



Mobile and Relief Veterinarians


Q: I am a relief veterinarian and as such work at many practices. Am I required to carry a framed copy of my license with me and display it while I am working at each individual practice?

A: (1) Each veterinarian engaged in practice shall have all current required licenses, certificates and permits on display. This includes a copy of the license certificate to practice veterinary medicine in the Commonwealth, and any applicable certifications by AVMA specialty boards. (2) Each licensee practicing at a location where the display of certificates is not possible or practical shall have on his/her person a license card as proof that his/her license is current. Read more HERE.

Complementary Medicine

Q: What is the protocol for chiropractic practice of non-human vertebrates?

A: It is not illegal for human chiropractor to administer care, but there are certain guidelines.

1) There must be a written referral/direct authorization from the animal's vet and;

2) The appointment cannot take place where the chiropractor works on humans.

Read more HERE.


Q: What are the guidelines for complementary and alternative veterinary medicine?

A: Read the guidelines HERE.

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