Notice of Intended Action

Principles of veterinary medical ethics, 10.6

Untitled document

ARC 5669C


Notice of Intended Action

Proposing rule making related to ethics

and providing an opportunity for public comment

The Board of Veterinary Medicine hereby proposes to amend Chapter 10, "Discipline," Iowa Administrative Code.

Legal Authority for Rule Making

This rule making is proposed under the authority provided in Iowa Code section 169.5.

State or Federal Law Implemented

This rule making implements, in whole or in part, Iowa Code chapter 169.

Purpose and Summary

This proposed rule making establishes Iowa's principles of veterinary medical ethics which licensed veterinarians must abide by. These ethics rules are based on the American Veterinary Medical Association's Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics, which the Board currently utilizes. Licensed veterinarians who violate the ethics rules may be subject to discipline by the Board.

Fiscal Impact

This rule making has no fiscal impact to the State of Iowa.

Jobs Impact

After analysis and review of this rule making, no impact on jobs has been found.


Any person who believes that the application of the discretionary provisions of this rule making would result in hardship or injustice to that person may petition the Board for a waiver of the discretionary provisions, if any, pursuant to 811—Chapter 14.

Public Comment

Any interested person may submit written comments concerning this proposed rule making. Written comments in response to this rule making must be received by the Board no later than 4:30 p.m.on June 30, 2021. Comments should be directed to:

Colin Tadlock

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Wallace State Office Building

502 East 9th Street

Des Moines, Iowa 50319

Phone: 515.281.7808


Public Hearing

No public hearing is scheduled at this time. As provided in Iowa Code section 17A.4(1)"b," an oral presentation regarding this rule making may be demanded by 25 interested persons, a governmental subdivision, the Administrative Rules Review Committee, an agency, or an association having 25 or more members.

Review by Administrative Rules Review Committee

The Administrative Rules Review Committee, a bipartisan legislative committee which oversees rule making by executive branch agencies, may, on its own motion or on written request by any individual or group, review this rule making at its regular monthly meeting or at a special meeting. The Committee's meetings are open to the public, and interested persons may be heard as provided in Iowa Code section 17A.8(6).

The following rule-making actions are proposed:

Item 1. Amend rule 811—10.6(17A,169,272C), introductory paragraph, as follows:

811—10.6(17A,169,272C) Grounds for discipline and principles of veterinary medical ethics. The board has established grounds for discipline and principles of ethics for veterinary medicine. Without regard as to whether the board has determined that an injury has occurred, the board may impose any of the disciplinary sanctions set forth in rule 10.7(17A,169,272C) 811—10.7(17A,169,272C), including civil penalties in an amount not to exceed $10,000, when the board determines that the credential holder is guilty of any of the following acts or offenses:

Item 2. Amend paragraph 10.6(2)"a" as follows:

a. Engaging in unethical conduct which includes, but is not limited to, a violation of the standards of practice as set out in 811—Chapter 12, and which may include acts or offenses in violation of the AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics Iowa's principles of veterinary medical ethics, as adopted in subrule 10.6(3).

Item 3. Adopt the following new subrule 10.6(3):

10.6(3) Principles of veterinary medical ethics. Veterinarians are members of a scholarly profession who have earned academic degrees from comprehensive universities or similar educational institutions. Licensed veterinarians practice veterinary medicine in a variety of situations and circumstances. Exemplary professional conduct upholds the dignity of the veterinary profession. All Iowa-licensed veterinarians are expected to adhere to these principles of veterinary medical ethics adopted by the board.

a. General ethics principles.

(1)A veterinarian shall be influenced only by the welfare of the patient, the needs of the client, the safety of the public, and the need to uphold the public trust vested in the veterinary profession, and shall avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance thereof.

(2)A veterinarian shall provide competent veterinary medical clinical care under the terms of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR), with compassion and respect for animal welfare and human health.

(3)A veterinarian shall uphold the standards of professionalism, be honest in all professional interactions, and report veterinarians who are deficient in character or competence to the appropriate entities.

(4)A veterinarian shall respect the law and also recognize a responsibility to seek changes to laws and regulations which are contrary to the best interests of the patient and public health.

(5)A veterinarian shall respect the rights of clients, colleagues, and other health professionals and shall safeguard medical information within the confines of the law.

(6)A veterinarian shall continue to study, apply, and advance scientific knowledge; maintain a commitment to veterinary medical education; make relevant information available to clients, colleagues, and the public; and obtain consultation or referral when indicated.

(7)A veterinarian shall, in the provision of appropriate patient care, except in emergencies, be free to choose whom to serve, with whom to associate, and the environment in which to provide veterinary medical care.

(8)A veterinarian shall recognize a responsibility to participate in activities contributing to the improvement of the community and the betterment of public health.

(9)A veterinarian shall view, evaluate, and treat all persons in any professional activity or circumstance in which they may be involved solely as individuals on the basis of their own personal abilities, qualifications, and other relevant characteristics.

(10)A veterinarian shall not advertise a specialty or claim to be a specialist when not a diplomate of a veterinary specialty organization recognized by the AVMA.

b. Veterinarian-client-patient relationship ethics. A veterinarian shall not engage in the practice of veterinary medicine without a valid VCPR as defined in these rules.

c. Veterinarian-client communication; documentation of informed consent.

(1)A veterinarian shall explain to clients how any diagnostic tests offered would help diagnose a patient's medical condition.

(2)A veterinarian is responsible for professional communication directly with the client regarding diagnosis, options for treatment(s), expected cost of treatment(s), expected outcome of treatment(s), and the potential risks associated with each treatment regimen, as well as the client's ability to decline treatment(s). Client consent for the treatment(s) shall be documented in the patient's medical records. A veterinary assistant may communicate the information listed in this subparagraph to the client under the direct supervision of an Iowa-licensed veterinarian.

(3)If a veterinarian does not have the expertise or the necessary equipment and facilities to adequately diagnose or treat a patient, the veterinarian shall offer a referral to another veterinarian or referral center where the diagnosis or treatment can be performed.

d. Veterinary medical records.

(1)Complete, accurate and legible medical records that are considered to meet the prevailing standard of the practice of veterinary medicine are required by the board. Medical records are vitally important in any board review of a complaint against a licensee.

(2)Any controlled substances administered to a patient must be written into the patient's medical record and shall include the drug name, the date the drug was administered, the amount of drug administered, the frequency of drug administration, and the prescribing (and administering, if different) veterinarian's name, as required by rules 811—12.2(169) to 811—12.4(169). This requirement is in addition to regulations and requirements promulgated by the Iowa board of pharmacy, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and any other applicable governmental agency. Violating or failing to comply with a state or federal law or regulation relating to the storing, labeling, prescribing, or dispensing of controlled substances shall be deemed unethical.

(3)Humane euthanasia of animals is an ethical veterinary procedure. A veterinarian can refuse to perform euthanasia.

e. Client and patient privacy rights.

(1)A veterinarian shall protect and respect the privacy rights of clients, colleagues, and other health professionals. A veterinarian shall not reveal confidential medical records or other medical information unless authorized to do so by law.

(2)It is unethical to place photographs or information regarding a patient on social media or other public platforms without the consent of the owner, unless the patient cannot be identified by its marking and unless all personally identifying information has been removed from the photograph. Use of photographs and information for didactic purposes are permitted with client consent or after removal of any information that would identify the client or patient.

f. Professional behavior.

(1)A veterinarian shall be honest in all professional interactions while respecting the rights of clients, colleagues, and other health professionals. A veterinarian must be honest and fair in relations with others, and a veterinarian shall not engage in fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit, including by material omission, in accordance with Iowa Code section 169.13(1)"a."

(2)A veterinarian must not defame or injure the professional standing or reputation of another veterinarian in a false or misleading manner. Any complaints about behavior of a veterinarian that may violate the principles of veterinary medical ethics should be addressed through the board in an appropriate and timely manner.

(3)It is unethical to place professional knowledge, credentials, or services at the disposal of any nonprofessional organization, group, or individual to promote or lend credibility to the illegal practice of veterinary medicine.

(4)It is unethical to knowingly aid anyone who is engaged in the unlicensed practice of veterinary medicine in accordance with Iowa Code section 169.13(1)"e."

(5)A veterinarian who is impaired due to substance abuse or mental health conditions as set forth in Iowa Code section 169.13(1)"h" must not act in the capacity of a veterinarian and shall quickly seek medical assistance from qualified organizations or individuals.

g. Community service.

(1)A veterinarian should recognize a responsibility to participate in activities contributing to the improvement of the community and the betterment of public health. The responsibilities of the veterinary profession extend beyond individual patients and clients to society in general.

(2)A veterinarian is encouraged to make the veterinarian's knowledge available to the community and to provide the veterinarian's services for activities that protect public health.

Veterinary Medicine Board

Open For Comments

This notice is open for comments for 12 more day(s). If you'd like to comment, select or click the text you wish to comment on in the document, or click the button below to make a general comment about the document. Comments will be collected through 6/30/2021

NOTE: You can also click the text in the document to make comments about specific sections.

Official Document

The official published PDF of this document is available from the Iowa General Assembly’s Administrative Rules page.

View Official PDF

View the Iowa Administrative Bulletin for 6/2/2021.

View Bulletin

Administrative Rule References

The following administrative rule references were added to this document. You may click a reference to view related notices.

Rule 811-10.6 Rule 811-10.6(2)"a" Rule 811-10.6(3) Rule 811-10.7 Rule 811-12.2 Rule 811-12.4

Iowa Code References

The following Iowa code references were added to this document. You may click a reference to view related notices.

Iowa Code 169.13(1)
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