Law By State

IAAMB is tracking the laws and legislative activities of each state and helping to make them friendlier to animal massage and bodyworkers.

ALABAMA: Allowed/Vet supervision
“Animal massage by a massage therapist under the direction of a licensed veterinarian”
http://asbvme.alabama.gov/pdfs/licensee/practice_act_and_administrative_code.pdf

ALASKA : ALLOWED WITH DIRECT VET SUPERVISION
No specific wording in state board vet practice act

ARIZONA: ALLOWED
Licensure is no longer a requirement to practice animal massage in the state. After a class action suit, vet board and therapists agreed to leave each other be. A signed agreement detailed that the veterinary board no longer require animal massage practitioners to obtain a veterinary license or to work under a veterinarian’s supervision.
https://www.dvm360.com/view/arizona-animal-massage-therapists-win-lawsuit-against-veterinary-board

ARKANSAS: ALLOWED
§ 17-101-307. License required–Exemptions
(a) No person may practice veterinary medicine in this state who is not a licensed veterinarian or the holder of a valid temporary permit issued by the Veterinary Medical Examining Board.
(b) This chapter shall not be construed to prohibit:
(12) A person practicing or performing equine massage therapy or animal massage therapy. http://iaamb.org/wp-content/uploads/Practice-Act-2021.pdf

COLORADO : ALLOWED WITH CERTIFICATION FROM APPROVED SCHOOL
Specific wording in state board vet practice act to be effective January 2010

CONNECTICUT : ALLOWED
Specific Wording in the state board vet practice act

DELAWARE : ALLOWED WITH DIRECT VET SUPERVISION
Exemption wording in the vet practice act:
“Supports activities under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian”

FLORIDA: ALLOWED
H641: Animal Service Providers; provides that chapter 474, F.S., re veterinary medical practice, does not apply to part-time worker or independent contractor who is hired by owner to provide certain services; provides for retroactive effect.

GEORGIA : ALLOWED
Specific wording in state vet practice act to allow animal massage
This article shall not be construed to prohibit:
(17) A person performing soft tissue animal massage or other forms of soft tissue animal manipulation…”

HAWAII : ALLOWED WITH VET SUPERVISION
No specific wording in the state vet practice act however state board interpretation offered guidelines

IDAHO: Allowed
“Massage is not a licensed profession in the state of Idaho; therefore, equine massage is allowed as long as the individual does not diagnose, prescribe, manipulate or adjust.

ILLINOIS : PREVIOUSLY ALLOWED: CURRENTLY BEING DISCUSSED
Some specific wording is now offered in the state practice act. Wording includes this list as the practice of veterinary medicine:
Complementary, alternative, or integrative veterinary medical procedures including: Chiropractic, Physical therapy, Animal acupuncture, Animal acutherapy, Animal acupressure, Veterinary homeopathy, Animal psychology, Artificial insemination, Dental, Veterinary nutraceutical therapy, Veterinary phytotherapy

INDIANA : CHECK WITH STATE BOARD: CHANGED
Broad wording in state vet practice now includes:
“Complimentary or alternative therapy” as the practice of veterinary medicine

IOWA : ALLOWED
The Board of Veterinary Medicine has determined that persons other than Iowa licensed veterinarians may perform animal massage for others, for a fee, for relaxation purposes. Persons other than Iowa licensed veterinarians are not allowed to perform animal massage for therapeutic purposes or to diagnose, treat, correct, change, relieve or prevent, for a fee, any animal disease, deformity, defect, injury or other physical or mental conditions or cosmetic surgery; including the prescription or administration of any drug, medicine, biologic, apparatus, application, anesthetic, or other therapeutic or diagnostic substance or technique, for a fee; or to evaluate or correct sterility or infertility, for a fee; or to render, advise or recommend for a fee with regard to any of the above.
The Board of Veterinary Medicine strongly suggests that business websites, business cards, letterheads, brochures, Facebook Accounts and any other forms of advertising be changed from therapy to relaxation and include this suggested language: “I do recognize the benefits of animal massage for relaxation, and please be aware that the services offered by [NAME] are not considered medical procedures and are not meant to diagnose, treat, correct, relieve or prevent medical conditions. Most importantly, animal massage is not meant to replace regular veterinary care”.
https://www.animallaw.info/statute/ia-veterinary-veterinary-practice-code#s3

KANSAS : ALLOWED WITH VET SUPERVISION
No specific wording in state vet practice act in regards to massage however this particular wording is included in the act:
“Independent contractor under direct or indirect supervision of veterinarian as specified by regulation”

KENTUCKY : GRAY AREA
Broad wording in state vet practice now includes:
“All other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine”

LOUISIANA : ALLOWED WITH DIRECT VET SUPERVISION
Broad wording in state vet practice now includes:
“All other branches of veterinary medicine”

MAINE : NOT ALLOWED
Specific wording in state vet practice act includes:
“Physical or massage therapy”

MARYLAND : ALLOWED
http://ij.org/case/clemens-v-maryland-state-board-of-veterinary-medical-examiners-et-al/

MASSACHUSETTS : ALLOWED
No specific wording in state vet practice act

MICHIGAN: Allowed/Vet Supervision
No specific wording currently in state vet practice act: need to confirm. Board failed to respond to email, then postal letter, then certified letter
https://www.avma.org/advocacy/state-local-issues/scope-practice-complementary-and-alternative-veterinary-medicine-cavm-and-other-practice-act

MINNESOTA : ALLOWED
No specific wording in state vet practice act

MISSISSIPPI : ALLOWED WITH DIRECT VET SUPERVISION
Broad wording in state vet practice act however guidelines were provided by the state board

MISSOURI: NOT ALLOWED

Currently the practice act wording considers any complementary and/or alternative therapies the practice of veterinary medicine. This was reconfirmed with an email from the board’s Executive Director, Dana Fennewald, who stated in an email the bodywork would be considered the practice of veterinary medicine 1.24.20
https://www.animallaw.info/statute/mo-veterinary-chapter-340-veterinarians

MONTANA : ALLOWED
No specific wording in state vet practice act

NEBRASKA : ALLOWED
Law changed 1.23.2019 with LB596. No referral needed § 38-3321. Shall not prohibit (15) Any person engaging solely in equine, cat, and dog massage practice. Requires certification and licensure from accredited schools.
https://www.animallaw.info/statute/ne-veterinary-article-33-veterinary-medicine-and-surgery-practice-act#s3307_2

NEVADA : NO RESPONSE FROM VET BOARD
No specific wording in state vet practice act in regards to massage however physical therapy is allowed by “certified(?)” physical therapist under direct vet supervision.

NEW HAMPSHIRE : ALLOWED
Specific wording in state vet practice act allowing massage

NEW JERSEY: GRAY AREA
Broad wording in state vet practice act includes the following terms:
“Alternative or complementary veterinary medicine”

NEW MEXICO: Allowed/Vet supervision
16.25.9.20 DIRECT SUPERVISION OF NON-VETERINARIANS: Non-licensed individuals are prohibited from practicing veterinary medicine which includes but is not limited to chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, homeopathy, therapeutic massage, dentistry, embryo transfer or any other related services on animals as defined in NMSA 1978, Section 61-14-2(B)(1), except under the direct supervision of a New Mexico-licensed veterinarian.

NEW YORK: NOT ALLOWED
Must be a veterinarian or vet tech under direct supervision
https://www.animallaw.info/statute/ny-veterinary-article-135-veterinary-medicine-and-animal-health-technology and https://www.govjustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Filed-Complaint.pdf

NORTH CAROLINA : ALLOWED WITH DIRECT VET SUPERVISION
Broad wording in state vet practice act however guidelines were provided by the state board

NORTH DAKOTA : ALLOWED
Broad wording in state vet practice act however guidelines were provided by the state board

OHIO : ALLOWED WITH DIRECT VET SUPERVISION
Broad wording in state vet practice act however guidelines were provided by the state board

OKLAHOMA : ALLOWED WITH VET REFFERAL
Specific wording in the state practice act:
“Individuals certified in animal massage therapy who acquire liability insurance may engage in animal massage therapy after referral from a licensed veterinarian”

OREGON : ALLOWED WITH VET REFERRAL
Specific wording in the state practice act: “Allied health professionals upon referral from a licensed veterinarian” The link provided states” ” A practitioner of alternative or complementary methods, i.e, chiropractic, naturopathy, massage, may work on animals if the individual is licensed in Oregon in that profession and has a referral for diagnosis and treatment from a veterinarian. Veterinarians may, but are not required to, provide a referral.”
https://www.oregon.gov/OVMEB/pdfs/2015_FAQs.pdf

PENNSYLVANIA : ALLOWED WITH DIRECT VET SUPERVISION
Specific wording in the state practice act:
“Chiropractic, dental, dental hygiene and physical therapy procedures performed upon animals by licensed individuals in conjunction with the practice of veterinary medicine and under the direct supervision of a veterinarian”

PUERTO RICO : ALLOWED
Guidelines were provided by the state board
RHODE ISLAND : ALLOWED WITH DIRECT VET SUPERVISION
No specific wording in state vet practice act however interpretation was received from the vet board

SOUTH CAROLINA : VET MAY DELEGATE
Specific wording in the state practice act:
“Veterinarians may delegate the performance of procedures, therapeutic options and alternate therapies, under certain conditions, including acupuncture, manipulation and adjustment, magnetic field therapy, holistic medicine, homeopathy, herbology/naturopathy, massage, and physical therapy”

SOUTH DAKOTA : ALLOWED
No specific wording in state vet practice act

TENNESSEE : ALLOWED
Although animal massage is not prohibited, no person is allowed to use the title “certified animal therapist” or “registered animal therapist” unless they comply with § 63-12-203
§ 63-12-203. Training, supervision, and examination
In order to use the term “certified animal massage therapist” or “registered animal massage therapist”, a person must:
(1) Complete at least fifty (50) hours of training in anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, and pathologies in order to gain aptitude in preventing the delay of care to animals;
(2) Complete at least fifty (50) hours of supervised in-class hands-on work, which would include assessment and execution of bodywork skills being studied, benefits of massage, benefits of acupressure, and practice guidelines; and
(3) Take and pass an examination by the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage or a comparable examination that tests the aptitude in the course of training described in subdivisions (1) and (2).
https://www.animallaw.info/statute/tn-veterinary-chapter-12-veterinarians#s201

TEXAS : UNDER GENERAL, OR DIRECT, VETERINARY SUPERVISION
Texas Administrative Code
TITLE 22 EXAMINING BOARDS
PART 24 TEXAS BOARD OF VETERINARY MEDICAL EXAMINERS
CHAPTER 573 RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
SUBCHAPTER B SUPERVISION OF PERSONNEL
RULE §573.14 Alternate Therapies–Chiropractic and Other Forms of Musculoskeletal Manipulation
________________________________________
(a) Definition. For the purpose of this rule, animal chiropractic and other forms of musculoskeletal manipulation (MSM) are systems of therapeutic application of mechanical forces applied manually through the hands or any mechanical device to treat and/or alleviate impaired or altered function of related components of the musculoskeletal system of nonhuman animals. Animal chiropractic and other forms of MSM in nonhuman animals are considered to be alternate therapies in the practice of veterinary medicine.
(b) Treatment using animal chiropractic and other forms of MSM. Animal chiropractic and other forms of MSM may only be performed by the following.
(1) A licensed veterinarian. Animal chiropractic and MSM may be performed by a licensed veterinarian under the following conditions:
(A) a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship has been established as defined in the Act;
(B) an examination has been made by the licensee to determine that animal chiropractic/MSM will not likely be harmful to the patient; and
(C) the licensee obtains as a part of the patient’s permanent record a signed acknowledgment by the owner or other caretaker of the patient that animal chiropractic or MSM is considered by Texas law to be an alternate therapy.
(2) A non-veterinarian employee or an independent contractor. A non-veterinarian employee or an independent contractor may perform these procedures on an animal under the direct or general supervision of the veterinarian if the conditions in paragraph (1)(A) – (C) of this subsection have been met.
(3) An individual to whom the exceptions of the Act, §801.004, apply.
(c) Responsibility. Whether the animal chiropractic/MSM is performed by a veterinarian or a non-veterinarian employee or an independent contractor working under the supervision of a licensee, the Board will hold the veterinarian to a level of professional judgment as would be exercised by the average Texas veterinarian who performs or recommends chiropractic/MSM treatments in his/her practice.

UTAH: Allowed/vet referral
Specific wording in the state practice act in exemption section allows: “by a massage therapist licensed under Chapter 47b, Massage Therapy Practice Act, who has completed at least 60 hours of animal massage therapy training.”
https://www.animallaw.info/statute/ut-veterinary-chapter-28-veterinary-practice-act

VERMONT : ALLOWED WITH DIRECT VET SUPERVISION
No specific wording in state vet practice act however, the state board interpretation offered guidelines
VIRGIN ISLANDS : ALLOWED
VIRGINIA : ALLOWED WITH VET DELEGATION
Specific wording in state vet practice act.

WASHINGTON : ALLOWED; NEW LAW IN LIMBO WITH FISCAL ASSIGNMENT
Specific wording in state vet practice act
Act will read as allowed by certified animal massage therapists once fees have been approved by legislature. Until then the old guidelines (see below) still apply

WEST VIRGINIA : NO RESPONSE FROM VET BOARD

WISCONSIN : ALLOWED WITH DIRECT VET SUPERVISION
No specific wording in state vet practice act however, the state board interpretation offered guidelines

WYOMING : NO RESPONSE FROM VET BOARD

Thank you, Equinology INC® and Caninology® for providing this information

IAAMB tracks the laws and legislative activities of each state and works with members to make them friendlier to animal massage and bodyworkers.

Disclaimer!
United States Animal Massage: Laws by State
Before registering for a US class or if you are a US resident intending to take a class and use the skills for a business, we request that you read the individual state law pertaining to the state which you intend to work. You may reside in a state and choose to work in a neighboring state which allows you to practice within the parameters of that state law.
While every effort has been made to make sure these are correct, these versions may not be the current law. Court decisions amend them, and a host of other factors come into play when interpreting them. If you read most any practice act, unless it specifically allows massage, most can be interpreted in either direction depending on who is arguing the case.
Again please understand that state laws constantly change and are often left up to interpretation of the current board. International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork, its owners and employees will not be held accountable for any information listed in this summary. These summaries are merely here as a collection of information and summaries that we have run across in our searches. If you need a thorough review and analysis of your state’s practice act wording and exemptions, we advise you to evaluate the full text of the statute and regulations which can be found on most state government sites, and consult a knowledgeable attorney.