Are you aware that the California Veterinary Medical Board (CVMB) wants to limit your freedom to choose the care you want for your animals? The CVMB feels that animal owners and caretakers can’t make responsible decisions about animal care, making it necessary, therefore, to cut off our access to alternative/complimentary care, unless that care is supplied by a veterinarian or with direct (paid) supervision of a veterinarian.


The California Veterinary Medical Board (CVMB) has been imposing increasingly strict regulations on how they define veterinary medicine and who they designate can legally work on animals. Several years ago, the CVMB made it a regulatory violation for chiropractors and equine dentists to work on animals without direct (paid) supervision of a licensed veterinarian; animal acupuncture has been restricted to veterinarians only. The CVMB now wants to pass new regulations that will require that most forms of animal care and advice only be provided by licensed veterinarians or their staff. This could mean a ban on massage, swim therapy and laser therapy, but might extend to grooming, training, pet sitting, horse foot maintenance, low cost vaccine clinics, nutritional advice given by a pet store, and virtually any kind of animal care activity.

See the following link to the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) page for what is now considered illegal: Illegal Practice Questions and Answers

(Note: The CVMB is an appointed State of CA regulatory board, the CVMA is an association representing the veterinarians in California that works closely with the CVMB)

It is a violation for any veterinarian to even REFER anyone to a non-veterinarian for anything the CVMB considers to be the practice of veterinary medicine.  Referrals to Unlicensed Persons Are Illegal

The CVMB claims these regulations are necessary to protect the us from our own poor decisions. They also claim they are responding to harm done. Yet The CVMB executive officer admitted in a recent public meeting that they do not track complaints, thus have no data to show significant harm done by non-veterinarians. Therefore, their claim of “needing to protect clients and their animals” is baseless. Requests for information about complaints have been denied and are met with the requirement of a subpoena.

We are asking the Californian legislature to sponsor/cosponsor an animal version of Senator Burton’s Bill, SB577, which passed in 2002. That bill secured us the freedom to choose whatever human alternative and complementary care we want without having a medical doctor  weigh in on our decisions. The animal health care bill will do the same, providing a system of informed consent waivers safeguarding freedom of choice for California animal owners. We need to guarantee, through legislative intervention, the same rights to choose health care providers for our animals that we now have for ourselves and our children.

What Services  and Providers Could This Affect?

The draft regulations already target massage, swim therapy, magnet and laser therapy, biofeedback, sound and manual therapy and any kind of exercise therapy. And the regulations are so broad that most animal care practices and practitioners could come under the CVMB chopping block, including:

Pet Store Owners: It could become illegal to give advice to owners about their animals’ conditions and appropriate products that impact animal health if there is not a veterinarian paid to be present for the consultation.

Pet Groomers: It could become illegal to give advice about skin conditions and what products to use on your clients’ pets or use those products to heal skin conditions without a veterinarian’s exam and diagnosis. It could also become illegal to express anal glands or even cut nails.

Large Animal Owners and Farmers: It could become illegal to treat wounds, float teeth or perform artificial insemination without a veterinarian present, and as with equine dentistry, the CVMB could pass regulations that require a veterinarian to be present for treatment of a wound, like a hoof abscess, or any hoof complication in a horse or other large animal.

Animal Trainers: It could become illegal to train animals without a veterinarian paid to be present, due to the potential for injury and possibility of preexisting medical conditions that would contra indicate exercise, and more.

While veterinarians are experts on some aspects of animal health, they are not experts in all aspects – either as a profession or individually. The emerging field of complementary and alternative medicine has increasingly gained popularity as animal owners see real improvements in their animals’ health through these means. Veterinarians  generally have little training on topics such as physical/massage therapy, use of natural medicines, or other alternative/complimentary care unless they seek training outside the veterinary school curriculum. Often that training consists of a quick weekend class or two.

WE NEED SKILLED AFFORDABLE CARE GIVERS FOR OUR ANIMALS As everyone recognizes, veterinary fees have skyrocketed; people find it increasingly difficult to afford care for even the simplest issues. For the CVMB to pass new regulations that require that a veterinarian perform massage,water therapy and other types of care now available through lay practitioners will make these services inaccessible to most of us. Even though most veterinarians are not trained to perform alternative/complementary techniques, legally they can do it anyway. Alternative/complementary practitioners have years of study and expertise in their fields – that expertise would all be lost to the animals and animal owners of California if these regulations go through.

FREEDOM TO CHOOSE AND ACCESS TO ALTERNATIVE/ COMPLEMENTARY MODALITIES MUST BE PROTECTED FROM VETERINARY OVERSIGHT Veterinarians are misleading the public by claiming they know everything there is to know about health and wellness. Alternative and complementary modalities and holistic care are gaining popularity because they achieve success with their cases. Much of what veterinarians are taught is contrary to the teachings of alternative modalities, which makes veterinarians unqualified to oversee these practitioners.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP? The regulatory changes the CVMB is planning could be implemented soon and do not require a vote of the public or legislative oversight. Please get involved now: Add your name and your organization’s name to the growing list of animal owners and lay practitioners in California who are seeking legislative protection for our rights to choose the care we want for our animals.

We have been warned that veterinary associations will plow tons of money to fight any effort to take away their turf. But we have shear numbers on our side— pet owners, horse owners, farmers and ranchers, trainers and all the skilled professionals who just want what is best for animals at a price that is affordable.

  • Get the word out. Share through social media, word of mouth, organizations and associations. most animal owners in California do not know about this situation.
  • Sign our petition
  • Have your associations, clubs and organizations of animal owners, breeders, farmers, ranchers, non veterinary health professionals to sign a letter in support of the petition
  • Get signatures on our petition
  • Talk to your state senator and assembly person to ask them to sponsor or at least support a bill to protect our rights and our animals!