§ 5-25-7. Practice of veterinary medicine defined.
(a) Any person shall be regarded as practicing veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry within the meaning of this chapter who, either directly or indirectly, when he or she does any of the following:
(1) Represents himself or herself as engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine, veterinary surgery, or veterinary dentistry in any of its branches.
(2) Diagnoses, prognoses, treats, administers, prescribes, operates on, manipulates or applies any drug, biologic, or chemical or any apparatus or appliance for any disease, pain, deformity, defect, injury, wound, or physical condition of any animal for the prevention of or to test the presence of any disease.
(3) Cuts any tissue, muscle, organ, or structure of any animal for the purposes described in subdivision (2) of this subsection or for the purpose of altering the natural condition of any animal or for any other purpose, cause, or reason.
(b) The term "practicing veterinary medicine" does not include:
(1) The calling into the state for consultation of duly licensed or registered veterinarians of any other state as to any case under treatment by a veterinarian registered under the provisions of this chapter.
(2) The experimentation or research of a registered physician, dentist, or osteopath.
(3) The experimentation and research activities conducted at any hospital, laboratory, or educational institution provided the activities have been approved and authorized by the division within the period of one year prior to the commencement of each separate project or activity or are conducted under the general supervision and control of a registered veterinarian, physician, dentist, or osteopath.
(4) The gratuitous giving of aid or relief to an animal in any accident or emergency; provided, the person giving the aid or relief does not represent himself or herself as a registered veterinarian.
(5) The nursing care to animals in the establishment or facilities of a registered veterinarian under his or her general supervision, direction, and control by the employees of the veterinarian or the activities of a person assisting a veterinarian during the course of any procedure or treatment.
(6) A person who is a regular student in a legally chartered college or school of veterinary medicine while in the performance of the duties and activities assigned by his or her instructors and provided there is a licensed veterinarian to supervise those acts.
(7) A person who is a member of the armed forces of the United States or who is an employee or official of the United States Department of Agriculture, Public Health Service, or other federal agency or of the state, who, while so commissioned or employed, performs official duties.
(8) A person authorized by the Rhode Island state or federal animal health official to conduct vaccinations or testing of animals for the purpose of disease control activity under the supervision of that authorizing official.
(9) A person who advises with respect to or performs acts that are livestock management and animal husbandry practices that have been accepted and performed as defined in the duly promulgated rules and regulations governing livestock welfare. Prescription drugs shall not be used except by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian, as provided by state and federal law.
(c) Upon the determination by the attending zoo veterinarian that there is no available licensed Rhode Island veterinarian with specialized skills to provide the necessary treatment, assistance can be sought from a licensed human medical practitioner to provide treatment to an animal that is part of the zoological collection. The licensed veterinarian shall maintain responsibility for the veterinarian-client-patient relationship.
(P.L. 1985, ch. 531, § 2; P.L. 1997, ch. 343, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 125, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 141, § 1.)