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ISU VCS 315 Veterinary Law and Ethics | Class of 2021

Section 1: Moral, Ethical, and Legal Decision Making

In this section, you will be learning about factors involved in moral, ethical, and legal decision making as well as differences between ethical principles and legal requirements. You will also learn how to find resources available to assist in the decision making process.

Approximate Time: 1 hour

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the factors involved in moral, ethical and legal decision making
  • Outline the importance that "ethics rounds" play when making choices that can reduce staff discord and grow one's leadership skills and stature
  • Define the differences between ethical principles and legal requirements
  • Know where to find resources available to assist in making these decisions

Section 2: Understanding State Board Licensing

In this section you will be learning about the state board's mission and regulation of the legal monopoly granted to veterinarians by the board's licensing authority and acts that define what legal verse legal is. This section will also cover what is required to obtain a veterinary and vet tech license and the legalities of non-veterinary practice ownership, rules and disciplinary actions for unprofessional conduct.

Approximate Time: 1+ hour

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the state board's mission and regulation of the legal monopoly granted to veterinarians by the board's licensing authority
  • Articulate how practice acts define what is legal vs. illegal
  • Determine what is required to obtain veterinary & vet tech licenses
  • Learn the legalities of non-veterinary practice ownership, rules & disciplinary actions for unprofessional conduct & regulations associated with mandatory CE

Section 3: Applied Ethics: Relations with Colleagues

In this section you will be learning about suspected or actual negligent veterinary care rendered by colleagues and how to deal with it appropriately. You will also be learning about the AVMA's Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics and how to access key reference materials that can help you take action where potential adversarial, medical, ethical, and legal issues exist.

Approximate Time: 1 hour

Learning Objectives

  • Develop a course of action to take when you are confronted with suspected or actual negligent veterinary care rendered by colleagues
  • Access and utilize key reference materials to develop scripts with which to approach colleagues where potentially adversarial, medical, ethical and legal issues exist
  • Find and apply the AVMA's Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics

Section 4: Animals and the Law

In this section you will be learning about how to articulate debates associated with pet, owner, and guardian. You will also learn how to differentiate between economic and non-economic damages for pet loss, clarify the knowledge of locals laws and where to find them, and how to evaluate the implications of confinement, nuisance, bite, dangerous dog, abandonment, lien, livestock protection, welfare, and anti cruelty laws.

Approximate Time: 3.5 Hours

Learning Objectives

  • Define "pet," "owner" and "guardian" and be able to articulate the debates associated with each term
  • Differentiate between economic and non-economic damages for pet loss
  • Clarify the value of a knowledge of & the application of state and local laws and where to find them
  • Evaluate the implications of confinement, nuisance, bite, dangerous dog, abandonment, lien, livestock protection, welfare and anti-cruelty laws

Section 5: The Legal Use of Veterinary Drugs

In this section you will learn about current legal standards regarding pain management, the rules for administration of extra-label drugs and drug labels, FDA, USDA, EPA, & DEA jurisdiction over veterinary drugs and biologicals, and proposals that will mandate that DVM's provide prescriptions.

Approximate Time: 2 hours

Learning Objectives

  • Understand proposals that will mandate that DVMs provide prescriptions
  • Identify FDA, USDA, EPA & DEA jurisdiction over veterinary drugs & biologicals
  • Summarize FDA drug compounding rules & risks associated with their use
  • Describe the rules for administration of extra-label drugs and drug labels
  • Articulate the elements required for a valid V-C-P-R
  • Identify current legal standards regarding the need for pain management drugs

Section 6: Professional Negligence

In this section you will learn to recognize the most common causes of client complaints as well as the four elements of cause of action for negligence.

Approximate Time: 2

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize the most common causes of client complaints
  • Identify the four elements of a cause of action for negligence
  • Explain negligence laws "duty of care" element
  • Describe the role that "standards of care" play in proving negligence cases
  • Articulate the difficulties proving "proximate causation"
  • Recognize how proof of damages impacts case outcomes
  • Articulate the veterinarian's role in preventing zoonotic diseases; view Paw & Order court case video to see how medical records and malpractice overlap

Section 7: Medical Records

In this section you will learn to articulate the business, medical, public relations, financial and legal value of good client and patient records, discuss ownership, retention, and confidentiality requirements for records, and the should and should nots of record keeping.

Approximate Time: 2

Learning Objectives:

  • List requirements for compliance with state board medical record regulations
  • Articulate the business, medical, public relations, financial and legal value of good client and patient records
  • This section is best viewed in conjunction with Section 6 to illustrate the synergy of these topics
  • Demonstrate innovative strategies for patient record management
  • Discuss ownership, retention and confidentiality requirements for records
  • Describe what SHOULD vs. should NOT be entered in your records
  • Explain the importance of legal "presumptions," the value of well written, signed, client consent forms and the evidentiary clout this provides

Section 8: Introduction to Contract Law

In this section you will be learning the elements required to create enforceable contracts, the role medical care plans play, remedies for breaches and contracts, and the law of unjust enrichment and its application to patient care.

Approximate Time: 2 hours

Learning Objectives

  • Outline the elements required to create enforceable contracts
  • Describe the role "medical care plans" play as this terminology replaces money-focused "estimates"
  • Understand remedies for breaches of contracts
  • Explain the "law of unjust enrichment" and its application to patient care
  • Understand and apply FICA, FUTA, personal income taxation and non-wage benefits for contract and tax planning


Your Instructor


Lance Roasa, DVM, JD, MS
Lance Roasa, DVM, JD, MS

Dr. Roasa has earned his veterinary and Master’s degrees from Texas A&M University and his law degree from the University of Nebraska. He has worked for Banfield in Phoenix and has owned and operated a mixed animal practice in the mountains of Colorado. He has co-founded and co-owns a group of practices in Nebraska, operates a law practice and delivers on-line CE via drip.vet. He is the past president of the American Veterinary Medical Law Association and a national co-advisor to the Veterinary Business Management Association. He serves on the board of directors of the Mark Morris Institute and on the advisory board to Veterinary Team Brief.


Course Curriculum


  Introductory Material and Syllabus
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  Moral, Ethical and Legal Decision Making
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  Applied Ethics: Relations with Colleagues
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  Professional Negligence
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  Thank You!
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