Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
A new California bill proposes allowing licensed physical therapists in human medicine to perform animal physical rehabilitation without veterinary supervision.
Assembly Bill 814 is strongly opposed by the:
- California Veterinary Medical Association, which represents more than 7,800 veterinary medical professionals.
- Southern California Veterinary Medical Association, with more than 6,000 members.
- Sacramento Valley Veterinary Medical Association.
- American Veterinary Medical Association, with more than 101,000 members.
“AB814 is a repeated attempt to expand physical therapist scope of practice to animals,” the CVMA stated. “It does not solve a problem; it creates one by putting animals and consumers at risk.”
The points of contention include:
- Animal physical rehabilitation should be performed by or under a veterinarian’s direct supervision. Current regulations allow registered veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants and human PTs to perform animal physical rehabilitation if they meet specific supervisory parameters that guarantee the patient’s safety.
- AB814 would allow physical therapists to practice without veterinary supervision. Opponents say the bill’s language might confuse pet owners into thinking an animal rehabilitation facility provides proper veterinary medical care.
- Animal-related training is not included in a physical therapist’s licensing curriculum.
- Numerous California veterinary hospitals provide animal physical rehabilitation.
- California veterinarians are well-versed in rehabilitative therapy.
AB814 proponents cite the need for more access to care, but the CVMA believes a statute change would jeopardize animal health.
The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Josh Lowenthal, cleared the chamber in early June by a 66-2 vote and is now in a Senate committee.