2014 — R. v. MacKinnon – Non-veterinarian equine dentist wins court case and continues to provide quality non-veterinarian care to horses in Alberta.
2002 — AVMA v. Pequin (Court of Queen’s Bench)- Precedent setting court case. The ABVMA tried to eliminate a complementary non-veterinarian animal health care provider, Mr. Pequin, from Alberta animal owners. Mr. Pequin had harmed no animals and had no customer complaints. Justice Bielby ruled that Mr. Pequin was more experienced in his field than most Alberta veterinarians. Mr. Pequin won the case and the right of Albertans to access complementary health providers was upheld. In a nutshell, Justice Bielby ruled the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) cannot pick and choose what is exclusive to veterinary medicine. The only services currently exclusive to Alberta veterinarians is surgery, drugs and obstetrics – not complementary animal health care. The ABVMA cannot eliminate the livelihoods of Albertans and remove health choices from Alberta animal owners whenever they feel like it.
2004 — AVMA v. Pequin (Court of Appeal of Alberta) Justice Bielby’s ruling is upheld. ABVMA is not supposed to expand their definition of veterinary medicine whenever they feel like it. The ABVMA’s application to the Supreme Court of Canada was denied.
2004 — BCVMA v. Sylvia MacDonald as K9 Dental Care The judge ruled the surface cleaning of dog’s teeth does not constitute “dentistry” or “veterinary medicine”. Cleaning the visible portion of a dog’s teeth by scaling or polishing is cosmetic, like an advanced form of grooming or tooth brushing. Since teeth cleaning does not pose any health risk, the judge ruled there was no concern for public safety. Sylvia MacDonald was allowed to continue providing the service as long as she refrains from using words in her advertising that may lead someone to believe that she is a veterinarian or that she can assess dental health.
2006 — BCVMA v. Bill Bishop The judge ruled equine dentistry is defined as veterinary medicine in BC and is therefore exclusive to BC veterinarians.
2015 — Ontario Dog Teeth Cleaner to Cease Unauthorized Practice Jill Thompson, carrying on business as Pup Star in Ontario, was ordered by the court to refrain from engaging in the practice of veterinary medicine as it is defined in Ontario. This includes refraining from scaling or polishing of the teeth of an animal, and performing dental hygiene on an animal (other than brushing, flossing and spraying a non-clinical breath spray).
U.S. States and Consequences
Animal Massage Laws by State This handy chart is put together by the International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork and clearly shows which few remaining US states legally allow an animal owner to hire an animal massage therapist independent of a veterinarian.
2014 — Equine Massage Therapists Sue Arizona Vet Board In a complaint filed March 5, 2014, in Arizona Superior Court for Maricopa County, the three women allege that the Arizona Veterinary Medical Examining Board (AVMEB) is violating their civil rights by requiring equine message therapists to hold a board-issued veterinary license in order to legally perform massage therapy services on horses. The women also allege that they risk board-enforced penalties, including fines and jail time, for each illegal equine message therapy session they provide.
New Law for Animal Massage in Colorado This new law requires anyone who practices animal massage in Colorado to attend a certificate program at a school that is either accredited or approved by the Colorado Department of Education.