How to find out if a veterinarian has been disciplined
by Carol Thompson
Before seeking medical care, it’s easy to check online for disciplinary actions against a doctor, physician’s assistant or nurse.
But when it comes to pets, it’s not quite as easy.
While some states, such as Texas, provide a comprehensive list of the veterinarians who have been disciplined, the reason for the action and the penalty, other states don’t provide the information online or have extremely outdated information–such as the case with California.
The California Veterinary Medical Board website states that disciplinary actions are reported to the National Disciplinary Database (NDDB), however, such database could be located.
The California Veterinary Medical Board does offer a license verification lookup by name and will note whether the person is active, delinquent, deceased, or disciplined. If a veterinarian is disciplined, the dates of the complaint and revocation are given, however, no other information is available.
Cpmprehensive disciplinary actions posted on their website, however, hadn’t been updated since 2004.
The American Association of Veterinarian State Boards provides the most comprehensive list by state, but the states vary as to what information is provided. Some states, such as Iowa, don’t have a link for searching licensing information or disciplinary actions. Other states list professional licenses but don’t include veterinarians. Kentucky’s link provided information for other disciplines but not veternarians
Maryland requires a request for disciplinary action be made in writing.
The states that do provide information in regard to veterinarians also provide the licensing information for veterinary technicians and others required to be licensed to work in the veterinary field.
So how do you find out if a veterinarian has had any disciplinary actions taken against him or her? The best advice given by those who advocate for more transparency is to ask family, friends, and neighbors with pets about their experience with the veterinarians in the area. Those who have had bad experiences with care are generally willing to share their experience with others.
Another possible way to glean how well a veterinarian treats its patients is to drive by the facility during open hours. A busy vet is generally a good vet.
The states contacted for this story gave no substantive reasoning for lack of making disciplinary actions readily available.
Image: Flickr/Army Medicine