7 Ways California Assembly Bill 1535 Impacts Veterinary Medicine | Holland & Hart LLP

Effective January 1, 2022, California Assembly Bill 1535 and related regulations significantly revised the rules governing the practice of veterinary medicine in California. The main changes include:

#1 – Elimination of the California Board exam. Veterinarians wishing to be licensed in California need only pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination and a take-home open-book California Veterinary Law Examination.

#2 – License and permit fees. AB 1535 revises and increases statutory license and permit fee limits and lowers the Certified Veterinary Technician (RVT) fee.

#3 – Protective measures related to the practice of veterinary medicine in business. The new law also includes safeguards to prevent interference in the practice of veterinary medicine. Additionally, the California Veterinary Medical Board (VMB) may deny, suspend, or revoke a facility’s registration if an unauthorized person practices, influences, or exercises control over the provisions of veterinary medicine. The law also expressly prohibits an unlicensed premises registrant from interfering with the professional judgment of a licensed veterinarian or veterinary technician.

#4 – Changes to Veterinary Establishment Registration. LLCs are eligible to hold a veterinary premises registration. The application for registration shall name all owners, officers and an agent for service of process, and the registrant shall report any changes to this information within 30 days.

#5 – Changes to Animal Shelter Veterinary Medicine. AB 1535 attempts to address concerns about minimum standard care in animal shelters. The bill includes provisions that allow state animal control agencies, shelters and humane society shelters that are not registered to provide limited care. For example, animal shelters are now able to administer vaccines to prevent the spread of communicable diseases and over-the-counter parasite medications without a veterinarian present.

#6- RVT name tag requirement. AB 1535 requires RVTs, vet assistants, and vet assistant controlled substance license holders to wear at least 18-point name identification tags that include their license or permit numbers. This requirement will come into effect on January 1, 2023 to allow veterinary practices time to comply with the name label requirement.

#7 – RVT Changes. Also impacting RVTs, effective April 1, 2021, California regulations were amended to expand an RVT’s scope of practice to allow them to apply casts and splints under indirect supervision, medications compounded from non-bulk substances under indirect supervision and medicinal products made from bulk substances under direct supervision.

All new amendments to the VMB Enabling Act, Section 4800, et seq. of the Business and Professions Code in AB 1535, came into force on January 1, 2022, except as otherwise provided in this article.


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Jennifer R. Strohm