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Archives - State Agencies - Veterinary Medical Examiners

[Authorized: NDCC Section 43-29-02]
An act to regulate the practice of veterinary science in the state was established in 1895 requiring every person practicing veterinary medicine, surgery, or dentistry to be licensed. The legislation included qualifications for veterinarians, information about the examination, how and when certificates, diplomas, and permits were to be issued. Also included was action on procedures for misdemeanors and penalties. Legislation addressed requirements for appointments and the make-up of the Board, the organization of the Board, and times of the meetings. In 1895 meetings were held the second Wednesday of April and October. The Board was known as the State Board of Medical Examiners with the Governor appointing the qualified examiners. Qualifications included being a US citizen, a practicing veterinarian, and who had lived in North Dakota for at least three years. They were required to be holders of a diploma granted by a legally authorized veterinary school, college, or university. Initially the terms were staggered from one to three-year terms. Officers included a president, secretary, and treasurer with the Board electing the officers. Record keeping included the names of all applicants for licensure, the amount of time spent studying and practicing veterinary medicine, surgery, dentistry, or other specialty fields. Since North Dakota did not have a program for veterinary medicine diplomas were required to show the name of the granting school, college, or university (S. L.1895, Ch. 113).  

In 1963 the Legislature established the Veterinary Practice Act requiring that Board members prior to an appointment to be licensed and have practiced veterinarian for five years. Members were appointed by the Governor from a list of three nominees as selected by the North Dakota Veterinary Medicine Association. In defining the act the Board had the discretionary authority to “promulgate, revise, alter, and enforce reasonable rules, regulations, and orders” as necessary for performing duties and regulations. The Board adopted a code of ethics patterned after the house of delegates of the American Veterinary Medicine Association and determined when the use of reciprocity was acceptable. The Board was to conduct inspections of the premises where veterinary practices were carried out.  Legislation defined the term of veterinary medicine and identified persons who were not allowed to practice veterinary medicine in the state. The responsibility of conduct of veterinary practices was addressed by instituting legal proceedings for proper enforcement of laws through suspension, revocation, or hearing.  The practice of veterinary medicine, surgery, or dentistry without compliance to the licensing laws was considered a misdemeanor (S. L. 1963, Ch. 314). Legislation in 1967 changed the Century Code relating to the unlawful practice of veterinary medicine. It provided for violations to charges of misdemeanor and added the civil remedy of injunction to restrain and enjoin violations (S. L. 1967, Ch. 356). Additional authority was extended to the Board with the added requirement for license renewal, rules of professional conduct, an inspection of facilities, handling of abandoned animals, and defining the duties and conduct of graduate animal technicians. It prevented unqualified persons from engaging in veterinary medicine practice by instituting the necessary legal proceedings for law enforcement (S. L. 1973, Ch. 359). Legislation required that any changes made by the Board be submitted and approved by the Attorney General and that the approved changes be sent by the Board to all the licensed veterinarians in the state. The Board changed meetings times (S. L. 1973, Ch. 359) to twice yearly (spring and fall) at which times the examinations were given. The Board secretary issued licenses and certificates to applicants who passed the examination. The Legislative Assembly in 1973 (S. L. 1973, Ch. 359) allowed the Board to employ an Executive Secretary or other staff necessary to carry out duties for which the Board was responsible. The Executive Secretary prepared the budget to be presented to the Legislature. The Executive Secretary also carried out all administrative duties including accepting annual registration fees, receiving applications for licensure, and issuing licenses, certificates, and renewals.  Legislation required that licenses and certificates be displayed at the place of business.  Legislation in 1975, (S. L. 1975, Ch. 106) made this a misdemeanor punishable by jail time. All fees from licensing and examinations collected by the Board were deposited in the State Treasury and disbursed as needed (S. L. 1975, Ch. 410). In 1981 names of nominees for appointments were no longer sent by the Association to the Governor, however, the Governor continued to appoint the Board members and had the authority to remove a Board member (S. L. 1981, Ch. 435). 

In 1991 the Board began to regulate veterinary technicians by issuing licenses and requiring that they be employed as graduate veterinary technicians (S. L. 1991, Ch.472). A veterinary technician needed additional training for at least two years of preparation in veterinary related employment. They were required to assist veterinarians, biosocial researchers, and others in areas of veterinary science. The Board continued to develop the requirements for veterinary technicians. North Dakota veterinarians who passed a national examination or completed other specialized training and complied with the licensing qualifications were recognized by the Board (S. L. 1991, Ch. 472). A veterinary technician was required to work under the direction of a licensed veterinarian and to continue to take education courses for license renewal (S. L. 1995, Ch. 415). Legislation again addressed Board requirements concerning continuing education for license renewal (S. L. 1997, Ch. 376). The Board had the authority to refuse, suspend, revoke, or place on probation veterinarians who were not in compliance with the continuing education policy or any rule or regulation of the practice. Legislation in 1997 (S. L. 1997, Ch. 376) eliminated the position of Board treasurer. Legislation also concerned the Board’s seal and the power to administer oaths and the Board had authority to adopt reasonable rules and regulations. The Board prescribed forms for applicants, prepared and supervised examinations to licensure, obtained services for professional examinations in lieu preparing its own examination, licensed and issued certificates for veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Law (S. L. 1997, Ch. 376) defined the practice of veterinary medicine and veterinary-client-patient relations. Legislation established criteria for the Board to issue a license or temporary permit to those practicing veterinary medicine without taking an examination. The process of complaints and investigations was changed and an expanded the list of violations allowed for refusal, suspension, and revocation of licenses and certificates. Reinstatement was addressed. Also addressed was the return of licenses to the holder and continuing education for all branches of veterinary practice.
Legislation in 2003 allowed the Board to enter into a reciprocal agreement with the licensing board of other states provided the requirements were the equal to North Dakota standards. Prior to taking an examination the candidate had to send a written application to the Executive Secretary of the Board.  Veterinarians holding a temporary permit could practice in the state if they had completed the fourth quarter of clinical study at an accredited institution, passed the examination provided by the National Board of Veterinary Examiners, or were enrolled in the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates Program. While training they would be issued a temporary license good for two years and were required to work under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian (S. L. 2003, Ch. 371). A new subsection was added to the Century Code in 2011 (S. L. 2011, Ch. 311) relating to the practice of dispensing prescription drugs by a registered veterinary technician. Maximum standards were established for veterinary retail facilities housing equine, food animals, and non-traditional animals (S. L. 2011, Ch. 311). With no available academic program for veterinary medicine within the state, a financial loan program was established for North Dakota students who chose to study veterinary medicine. In return students were required to return to North Dakota to practice veterinary medicine. Continuing appropriations for this program were provided by the 2011 Legislative Assembly (S. L. 2011, Ch. 321).  Applicants were selected by members of the Health Council in consultation with the State Board of Animal Health. The Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners could refuse to issue a license or a certificate of registration. It could suspend or revoke a license or certificate [NDCC 43-29]. Procedures for reinstating after revocation were also added.  
According to the 2003 North Dakota Blue Book (2003) three veterinarians were appointed by the Governor to serve staggered three-year terms.  Each Board member had to be a reputable practicing licensed veterinarian for five years immediately preceding appointment and hold a degree granted by a veterinary school or by a college or university recognized by the Board.  For administrative purposes the Board employed an Executive Secretary. In regulating the practice of veterinary medicine the Board examined and certified qualified applicants. In addition the Board had authority to suspend and revoke licenses of veterinarians who violated standards set by law. The State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners website provides information about the Board meetings held twice a year and the place where meetings are usually are held is the State Capitol. Meetings start at 9:00 a.m. with this portion closed to the public in order for candidates to take the exam for licensure and for the review of complaints against licensees. The public portion of the meeting starts at 1:00 p.m. with the general business agenda and a review of current complaints. In 2013 the Executive Secretary for the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners also served as the Executive Secretary of the National Association of Veterinary Medical Examiners.


1895       The Governor appointed the first State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners consisting of three practicing veterinarians. The Board was to give exams and provide licenses to veterinarians.  Legislation required every person practicing veterinary medicine, surgery, or dentistry to meet qualifications (S. L. 1895, Ch. 113).

1963       The purpose of the Board was defined by the establishment of the Veterinary Practice Act.  Appointments to the Board were selected from a list approved by the North Dakota Veterinary Medical Association.  The Board was given authority concerning the general welfare of the agricultural public and was to examine, license, certify, and regulate veterinarians (S. L. 1963, Ch. 314).

1967       Legislation clarified laws concerning the unauthorized practice of veterinary medicine, veterinary surgery, and veterinary dentistry due to non-compliance of the law, willful pretense to be registered as a veterinarian, and willfully deceiving the public (S. L. 1967, Ch. 356).

1973       Regulations were clarified through legislation. Changes required that rules be submitted to the Attorney General for approval.  Legislation concerned the employment and duties of an Executive Secretary. Other action related to the abandonment of animals by owners (S. L. 1973, Ch. 359).

1975       Veterinarians who practice without a license faced a (Class B) misdemeanor (S.L. 1975, Ch. 106). Fees collected by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners were deposited in the State Treasury to be used for the legitimate expenses of the Board (S. L. 1975, Ch. 410).

1981       No longer did the Governor select members to the Board from lists submitted by the North Dakota Veterinary Medical Association (S. L. 1981, Ch. 435).

1991       Laws concerned regulations of a licensed veterinary technician and changes to the Century Code related to expected practices and also to limited specialty licensing (S. L. 1991, Ch. 472).

1995       A new section was added to the Century Code relating to veterinary technicians.  Changes were made to the expansion of education courses and training prior to licensing for certification.  Practicing with a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine became one of the requirements (S. L. 1995, Ch. 415).

1997       Officers for the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners consisted of a president and secretary.  Veterinary medicine was defined including the specialty areas.  A code of practice was established for licensing and disciplinary action and the need for continuing education were addressed.  Also provisions applicable for the practicing of veterinary medicine with a temporary permit (S. L. 1997, Ch.  376).                                   

2001       Legislation related to the definition of a certificate required by the Board (S. L. 2001, Ch. 386).

2003       Legislation concerned temporary permits of graduates from non-accredited veterinary colleges. A section was added to the Century Code concerning this legislation (S. L. 2003, Ch. 371).

2007       An act to repeal [NDCC 43-29-01] related to the statement of purpose for licensure by veterinarians (S. L. 2007, Ch. 376).  Other changes were made to the Century Code concerning licensure of veterinarians (S. L. 2007, Ch. 377).

2011       A new subsection added to the Century Code related to the practice of dispensing veterinary prescription drugs, the rules for registration of veterinary dispensing technicians, and provisions for a penalty (S. L. 2011, Ch. 311).  Continued appropriations were provided for the veterinary repayment program by qualified applicants who were selected by the State Health Council (S. L. 2011, Ch. 321).

2013       The number of Board members increased from three to five and changes were made to qualification requirements.  Appointed by the Governor the five members included one veterinarian with a practice focusing on small animals, one with a focus on large animals, a veterinarian focusing on both large and small animals, one veterinarian technician, and one public representative (S.L. 2013, Ch. 329).


30764 Livestock Sanitary Board, State. State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners Minutes
32306 Veterinary Medical Examiners Board. License Registers


Legislative History of North Dakota State Agencies: Richard J. Wolfert State Librarian. State Library Commission, 1978.
North Dakota Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners Website.
North Dakota Century Code.
North Dakota Secretary of State Blue Book.
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws.

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