Of late, identifying and stopping lay people from illegally practicing veterinary medicine has been an important task. That’s why regulators in California took steps in October to prohibit “lay dentists” from using teeth scalers on an animal’s teeth. The California Veterinary Medical Board unanimously approved an amendment to the regulations that included the use of scalers, and the practice of scaling an animal’s teeth, in the definition of a dental operation, which can only be performed by a licensed veterinarian.
In January, a petition was filed with the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) challenging the regulation passed in October. The petition claimed that proper protocol was not followed in adopting the regulation. Just this week, the OAL issued a ruling on the petition citing a 2004 Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decision. The 2004 ALJ decision specifically addressed the issue of the use of teeth scalers by non-veterinarians and found that the use of a dental scaler is well within the statutory definition of a dental operation and thus, the practice of veterinary medicine.
The OAL found that because the Board of Veterinary Medicine adopted this 2004 decision as precedent in 2005, and did so within the confines of current statute, the amended regulation stands.
What do you think? Please post a comment with any thoughts or questions.
For the full decision from the California OAL, click here.