Your Colorado Veterinary Practice Act is up for renewal: Here’s what you need to know.

Your Colorado Veterinary Practice Act is up for renewal: Here’s what you need to know.

2022 will be one of the biggest years on record in recent state history for Colorado veterinarians. Why? For the first time in 11 years, the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act is undergoing a sunset review by the Department of Regulatory Agencies and renewal by the state legislature. This means there is potential for substantial impact for veterinarians and the practice of veterinary medicine in Colorado.

As the number one advocate for veterinarians in Colorado, CVMA has been working behind the scenes since fall 2019 to prepare for the sunset review.

But what is a sunset review…and why should Colorado veterinarians care?

From now until May 2022 when the state legislature recesses, CVMA will be sharing crucial updates on the practice act renewal process, including what it means for Colorado veterinarians and how CVMA is working to protect veterinary medicine in Colorado.

First things first…what is the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act?

Every regulated profession in Colorado has a practice act that establishes a regulatory body that oversees the process by which professionals are licensed or regulated. The Colorado Veterinary Practice Act can be changed two ways: 1. At any time during the regular annual legislative session by lawmakers. 2. Once every approximately 10-15 years during a scheduled sunset review process.

So what is a sunset review process…and why should veterinarians care about it?

A sunset review process has many parts and pieces and can seem confusing to those unfamiliar with the process.

Since 1976, every regulated profession in Colorado undergoes a sunset review according to a set schedule. The Colorado legislature sets specific dates that a particular board (such as the State Board of Veterinary Medicine) will expire unless the legislature passes new legislation to continue that board or entity. In the case of the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act, it is set to expire in 2022 unless renewed by the state legislature.

In Colorado, a sunset review is conducted by the Colorado Office of Policy, Research and Regulatory Reform (COPRRR), which is part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). The DORA COPRRR conducts meetings with key stakeholders to assess how the regulated profession is impacting consumers; throughout the review process, DORA’s main emphasis is on reviewing the current practice act to ensure consumers are protected. The sunset review will look for the least restrictive level of regulation that continues to protect the public interest.

Veterinarians should care about the sunset review process because it sets recommendations for legislators to consider regarding the practice of veterinary medicine in Colorado – something that is of vital interest to all practitioners.

Sunset review process


What happens after the sunset review is completed?

After the sunset review, DORA produces a report that is then sent to the state legislature (also called the Colorado General Assembly), as well as to key stakeholders.

When was the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act last renewed?

The last sunset review of the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act was conducted in 2010; the act was renewed by the state legislature in 2011 for a period of 11 years.

In 2020-2021, the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act underwent another sunset review by DORA. In the sunset review report released on October 15, 2021, DORA recommended the act be continued for another 11 years.

If the Colorado legislature takes this recommendation, the act will be renewed for another 11 years during the 2022 legislative session (January-May 2022).

Timeline of sunset review process and practice act renewal

Source: CVMA



What role did CVMA play during the sunset review process?

As a critical stakeholder in the review of the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act, CVMA has invested over 500 staff and volunteer hours analyzing the practice act and collaborating with other key stakeholders.

In December 2020, CVMA established a Practice Act Review Task Force. The task force met regularly throughout 2021 to review current issues in veterinary medicine both in Colorado, as well as nationally, and to identify ways the practice act could help address those issues. CVMA collaborated with other key veterinary organizations including AVMA, CACVT, CSU, and others throughout the process.

CVMA’s task force developed recommendations that were then presented to DORA for consideration. DORA included some recommendations in its final report and excluded others.

What were the key findings in the 2021 DORA report?

In the report released by DORA on October 15, 2021, key recommendations from DORA included:

  • Continuing the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act for 11 years, until 2033.
  • Amending the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act to authorize veterinarians to delegate the task of administering rabies vaccinations while under their supervision.
  • Requiring veterinarians to create a written plan for the storage, security, and disposal of patient records.
  • Clarifying the requirements concerning confidential agreements.

Additionally, DORA released a sunrise report recommending the regulation of veterinary technicians in Colorado. In 2021, Colorado was one of 10 states that do not currently license, register, establish minimum education criteria for, or define a scope of practice for veterinary technicians. Read more about the sunrise review process on the CACVT website.

Do the recommendations in the DORA report automatically become legislation?

No. The recommendations must be written into the language of the practice act renewal bill in order for them to become legislation. Legislators may have their own opinions or ideas about what should be included in the bill.

What are the next steps for the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act from here?

CVMA will be playing an active role in evaluating the progress of the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act renewal and will testify and offer comment during the legislative process.


CVMA’s most important role on behalf of veterinarians is to closely monitor regulatory and legislative provisions that govern the practice of veterinary medicine in Colorado; and to advocate for policy that  protects veterinarians, the practice of veterinary medicine, and animal welfare in Colorado. CVMA’s advocacy  does what no single veterinarian can do alone.

For the next seven months until the legislature recesses in early May 2022, CVMA will report to members on the progress of a new veterinary practice act through the legislative process. We invite your comments and questions on this important effort.