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Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I get a copy of my pet's medical records?
You must request the records from your veterinarian - a written request is recommended. Under Business and Professions Code section 4855, the veterinarian is obligated to provide you with a summary of the patient record. The expectation is that the records will be provided within a "reasonable" amount of time. There may be a cost for duplication.
- My veterinarian has moved or closed down, how can I get my records?
Each managing licensee of a veterinary facility is required to maintain a current address of record. If the facility has moved or closed down, the VMB recommends that you contact the Board for the most recent address of record and then send a written request for a summary of your animal's records to that address. If there is no response, then you should file a complaint with the Veterinary Medical Board.
- If I asked my veterinarian for my pet's x-rays and he refuses, what
can I do?
California Code of Regulation section 2032.3 states that radiographs are the property of the facility that originally ordered them to be prepared. Radiographs shall be released to another veterinarian upon request of another veterinarian who has the authorization of the animal owner. Radiographs shall be returned to the veterinary facility which ordered them to be prepared. If the veterinarian refuses to provide the radiographs requested by your new veterinarian, you can file a complaint with the Board.
- If I have a balance owing at my veterinarian's office, can the vet
hold my pet for payment?
There is a Lien Law, which allows a veterinarian to hold your pet until the bill is paid. Boarding charges may be added for the time an animal is held under this law.
- Is it legal for my veterinary bill to be significantly higher than my
The VMB does not have jurisdiction over fees. A veterinarian is not required legally to provide a written estimate, but estimates are strongly recommended. If you feel that you have been charged unjustly, you may be able to obtain a remedy in small claims court.
- How can I obtain my veterinarian's license number?
Business and Professions Code section 4850 requires a veterinarian to display the license in his or her principal place of business. Also, you can check on the Board's web site and look up your veterinarian's licensing information under "License Lookup."
- Am I required to provide a copy of the medical records to the client?
Business and Professions Code section 4855 states you shall provide a summary to the client upon request. Therefore, you must provide either a copy of the actual medical records or a summary that contains all the pertinent medical and drug information that is in the record.
- What information is required to be in the summary of the records?
California Code of Regulation, section 2032.3(b) states that the following information shall be included:
(1)Name and address of client and animal.
(2)Age, sex, breed, species and color of animal.
(3)History or pertinent information as it pertains to each animal´s medial status.
(4)Data, including that obtained by instrumentation, from physical examination.
(5)Treatment and intended treatment plan, including medications, their dosage and frequency of use.
(6)All medications and treatments prescribed and dispensed, including, strength, dosage, quantity, and frequency.
(7)Daily progress, if relevant, and disposition of case.
- How long do we need to keep medical records? Is it the same for x-rays?
California Code of Regulations section 2032.3 requires that the patient medical records be maintained for three (3) years after the date of the last visit. Radiographs are part of the patient medical records and shall be maintained for three years after the date of the last visit.
- Who can administer rabies vaccinations?
A California licensed veterinarian can administer the rabies vaccine or can delegate the administration of the rabies vaccine, to either a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) or unregistered assistant. A RVT and/or unregistered assistant can administer the rabies vaccination under either direct or indirect supervision of the California licensed veterinarian.
The veterinarian may delegate supervision of the rabies vaccination administration to a California RVT, but, in that instance, when administering the rabies vaccination, the unregistered assistant must be working under direct supervision of the California RVT. The levels of supervision are governed by the requirements the California Code of Regulations, sections 2034 through 2036.5. For additional information regarding rabies requirements, please contact Department of Health Services, Veterinary Public Health Unit.
- Separate Surgery Room Requirements – What is required and/or prohibited in the separate room where I perform aseptic surgery?
Under Section 2030(g)(1) the law requires veterinarians who are performing aseptic surgery, to maintain a room, separate and distinct from all other rooms reserved for aseptic surgical procedures. The Board is working with its new advisory multidisciplinary committee to update the Board´s policy to address the immediate need for clarification and to develop regulations as a long term solution to developing specific requirements based on current policy. The current policy guidelines are as follows:
A surgery room that is separate and distinct from all other rooms must not be accessible to casual cross traffic through the room and must have doors that:
(1)Are able to be fully closed,
(2)Fill the entire door space,
(3)Are made of non-porous material, and
(4)Are not accessible from outside into the hospital.
Storage in the surgery room shall be limited to items and equipment normally related to surgery and surgical procedures. Recommendations include:
(2)Eliminating a functioning sink. An open drain is a viable source of bacteria, so if you have a functioning sink in the surgery room, the Board recommends either disabling the sink and covering the open area with a non-porous material or removing the sink entirely,
(3)Radiographic equipment that is used exclusively for surgical patients only would be acceptable, but general office radiographic equipment should be housed outside the surgery room.
(4)Open shelving gathers dust and animal hair that can compromise your surgery room. Open shelving should be removed or doors installed.
(5)Dental cleaning procedures should not be done in the room reserved exclusively for aseptic surgery and the equipment used for dentals should not be stored in the surgery room.
Section 2030(g)(B)(2) requires the surgery room to have effective emergency lighting. Effective emergency lighting must be operated by a viable power source, either a battery or some form of alternative power, e.g., if the alternative power source is a battery and the battery is dead, that is not considered effective emergency lighting. Effective emergency lighting must be able to function at any given time and must be sufficient to illuminate the surgery site so a surgery in progress during an emergency can be completed without unnecessarily jeopardizing the life of the animal.