The Louisiana Veterinary Practice Act gives the Board the legal authority to file suit in a district court against any person practicing veterinary medicine without a license or temporary permit, where a lawful exception is not applicable. Although there are other procedural options available to the Board, a civil district court has the constitutional authority to issue a permanent injunction against the non-licensee, in addition to awarding damages and requiring the unlicensed person to return all monies received from the illegal practice of veterinary medicine. Under the Practice Act, civil damages available to the Board in such instances are up to $1,000 per offense, plus reimbursement to the Board of attorney fees and costs of court. In the area of equine dentistry, the Practice Act provides a minimum civil fine of $500 per offense.

The Board, through the formal complaint process and unofficial notifications from the public, has become aware that especially in the field of equine dentistry, instances of the illegal practice of veterinary medicine have become problematic. Consistent with its duty to protect the people and animals of Louisiana from incompetent, dishonest or unprincipled practitioners of veterinary medicine, the Board has increased its efforts to curtail these illegal practices. It has filed suit in district court seeking injunctive relief and civil damages in central Louisiana and has issued cease and desist letters to illegal practitioners as it becomes aware of instances of non-licensees engaged in the practice of equine dentistry.

As a reminder, equine dentistry is statutorily included in the definition of “the practice of veterinary medicine” in the Practice Act. Since it is no longer possible under the law to qualify to become a “Registered Equine Dentist” for anyone not previously qualified, there are only two classes of persons who can otherwise legally practice limited equine dentistry aside from licensed veterinarians – RVTs and laypersons employed by a licensed veterinarian. Those limited dental procedures that are allowed for such employees are the rasping (floating) of molar, premolar and canine teeth, and the removal of deciduous incisor and premolar teeth (caps). All other dental operations must be performed by a licensed veterinarian. Board Rules provide that an RVT and layperson so employed by a licensed veterinarian must have special, board-approved training (available at LSU-SVM), be employed as a “W2 issued” employee and not an independent contractor, vendor or partner of the veterinarian, and working under a relaxed standard of direct supervision. The supervision must be such that the supervising veterinarian is within both a 30 mile radius/30 minute travel time of the premises where the dental procedure is to be performed. Further, only a licensed veterinarian is allowed to prescribe, recommend and administer a legend drug or controlled substance. See the entirety of Rule 1515 for further explanation and qualifying factors.

The Board encourages anyone with firsthand knowledge of the illegal practice of veterinary medicine, equine dentistry or otherwise, to contact the Board either by filing a complaint at and giving the Board sufficient evidence to proceed with an investigation. It should also be remembered that the representation of the willingness and ability to provide an unauthorized veterinarian service to the public (e.g. advertisement) is itself a violation of the Practice Act.

View the full Annual Report to Licensees (Volume 31, No. 1 – Spring 2023).


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