Important Stakeholder Update

Dear Stakeholders -

While California continues to navigate the uncertainty of Novell Coronavirus (COVID-19) and limit its spread, the Veterinary Medical Board is committed to supporting our licensees, applicants, and consumers throughout the course of this pandemic and to provide continuity of service at all times. The Veterinary Medical Board is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, coordinating with the state and local governments, and working with our partners to protect the health of Californians.

The Board understands the ability to perform your jobs with a license is a priority. We appreciate your patience as we work on implementing new technologies to work remotely and adhere to social distancing guidelines. We apologize in advance for any delays in reaching our staff or potential delays in our processing times.

We have received a number of inquiries from our licensees. We are providing the below FAQ's in an effort to provide information.

The best general guidance will continue to come from the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Will Continuing Education Requirements Be Postponed?
At this time the law does not allow this.

2. Are There Fee Waivers Available?
At this time the law does not allow this.

3. Should My Business or Practice Remain Open?
The Veterinary Medical Board does not have authority to close businesses or practices solely as a result of COVID-19. We strongly encourage you to assess whether your business is an essential job function as outlined by the Governor and follow the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Check with your local county health department to determine what activities are also considered essential and non-essential.

4. My License is Retired. Can I Renew to Help Combat Coronavirus?
At this time you need to follow requirements on restoring a license.

5. My Exam Was Canceled. What Does that Mean?
The Board will be working with its exam vendor, PSI, to ensure that expedited exam processing will occur when they return and will be looking at ways to mitigate delays. PSI is actively working to reschedule exams and honoring any fees applied or providing refunds when necessary.

6. I am licensed in a state outside of California. Does California allow licensing reciprocity during the State of Emergency?
If you are a licensed healthcare provider in a state other than California, please visit the Emergency Medical Services Authority (https://emsa.ca.gov/covid19/) for information to be able to practice in California. Please visit the "Authorization of Out-Of-State Medical Personnel" section on this website.

7. Can we dispense medication to a client for use on their animal even though the exam is not current?
Governor Gavin Newsom declared the COVID-19 virus to be a state of emergency in California on March 4, 2020. California law allows veterinarians to provide medications to animal owners during declared states of emergency. The Veterinary Medicine Practice Act states the following:

Business and Professions Code section 4826.4

  • a. A California-licensed veterinarian at premises registered in accordance with Section 4853 that is located within a 25-mile radius of any condition of emergency specified in Section 8558 of the Government Code may, in good faith, do both of the following in addition to any other acts authorized by law:
    • 1. Render necessary and prompt care and treatment to an animal patient without establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship if conditions are such that one cannot be established in a timely manner.
    • 2. Dispense or prescribe a dangerous drug or device, as defined in Section 4022, in reasonable quantities where failure to provide services or medications, including controlled substances, may result in loss of life or intense suffering of the animal patient. Prior to refilling a prescription pursuant to this paragraph, the veterinarian shall make a reasonable effort to contact the originally prescribing veterinarian.
  • b. A veterinarian acting under this section shall make an appropriate record that includes the basis for proceeding under this section.
  • c. A veterinarian who performs services pursuant to this section shall have immunity from liability pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 8659 of the Government Code.