New Law Temporarily Places Texas Veterinary Board Under

Under the Texas Veterinary Licensing Act, the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (TBVME) historically has licensed and regulated Doctors of Veterinary Medicine (DVMs), Licensed Veterinary Technicians (LVTs), and Equine Dental Providers (EDPs). As a result, the TBVME has the authority to receive, investigate, and prosecute complaints against these licensed professionals who have committed alleged misconduct. However, as of September 1, 2023, the TBVME has operated under the guidance and direction of the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR) and will continue to do so for the next four years,

TBVME Failed to Maintain Public Disciplinary Records Database

In 2016, state lawmakers called on the TBVME to address what it deemed “concerning” issues regarding the public availability of disciplinary records for DVMs, LVTs, and EDPs. TBVME maintains a website where pet owners should be able to look up vets for any disciplinary history before they choose where to seek medical care for their pets. However, many disciplinary records were absent from the database.

By 2022, an Austin, Texas news station, KXAN, reported that the Texas Veterinary Board still had failed to remedy the problem fully. Many disciplinary records remained missing from the public database. Although board officials assured investigators that the data would soon be complete, dozens of confirmed disciplinary cases still did not appear in a search of the public database that the TBVME is charged with maintaining and keeping up to date. 

State Legislature Targets TBVME for Oversight by TDLR 

Since the TBVME had failed to improve its data reliability issues, the Texas legislature acted during the spring 2023 legislative session. Lawmakers voted to temporarily “attach” the TBVME to the TDLR for the next four years or until 2027. The Texas governor signed the bill into law in June 2023. 

The TBVME and TDLR partnership went into effect on September 1, 2023. Since TDLR already operates a public database of disciplinary records for more than 900 licensees in 37 professions, its goal is to incorporate the disciplinary records of the TBVME into its existing database. The success of TDLR’s public search website and search tool is likely one of the main reasons the legislature chose the TDLR to oversee the TBVME. 

The TDLR will also begin receiving and processing all complaints against licensees of the TBVME as they are received. Additionally, they will determine the status of any existing complaints, investigations, and ongoing disciplinary proceedings. Next, the TDLR will classify the cases according to severity and take action to resolve them as swiftly as possible. Nonetheless, the TBVME Board, which includes six practicing veterinarians, will still make decisions in disciplinary proceedings. The Texas legislature deemed it necessary to maintain medical experts on the agency board, as cases often involve a degree of medical expertise. 

Essentially, the TDLR will take over administrative and management responsibilities of the state agency, which is a significant step indicating that the TBVME was not getting its work done. While the agency remains in existence, the TDLR will take on many of the agency’s duties in collecting data and maintaining records. 

Future Plans for the TBVME

In two years, the TDLR will provide recommendations to the state legislature to improve the TBVME. The state legislature hopes to see great progress in recordkeeping and management by then. Overall, the goal remains to return TBVME to an independent agency.

The state legislature also allocated additional funds for the TBVME to handle the backlog of cases and records. With the increased budget, the TBVME will hire six additional investigators, a staff veterinarian, and another staff attorney. 

Arguably, the TBVME has already made some strides, such as improving the number of compliance inspections completed in fiscal year 2023. While its inspection numbers greatly decreased in FY 21 (56) and FY 22 (72), likely due to the focus on recordkeeping, inspection numbers rebounded greatly in FY 2023, reaching 766. 

Furthermore, the number of disciplinary orders that the TBVME issued in FY 21 and 22 was about half the number of orders issued in the past. However, in FY 23, TBVME already has issued 101 orders. 


The Texas Veterinary Licensing Act has undergone significant changes, particularly with the transfer of oversight responsibilities from the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (TBVME) to the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation (TDLR). The shift in authority was prompted by persistent issues with the TBVME’s management of disciplinary records and regulatory functions. By integrating the TBVME’s operations into its existing framework, the TDLR aims to improve transparency, efficiency, and accountability within the veterinary profession. While TBVME continues to face challenges in recordkeeping and case management, recent efforts, including increased funding and staffing, suggest a commitment to addressing these concerns. With ongoing collaboration and oversight, the goal is to ultimately restore TBVME to an independent agency capable of fulfilling its regulatory duties effectively.

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Count on Bertolino LLP to Defend Your Veterinary License 

If you have received a complaint that could adversely affect your license and career, you need an experienced veterinarian license defense attorney throughout any disciplinary proceedings. The stakes during these proceedings are very high, no matter the severity of the allegations against you. We will tirelessly defend you against these attacks on the credentials you have worked so hard to earn. Contact Bertolino LLP today at (512) 980-3751 or visit us online.

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