S-0173.1  _______________________________________________


                         SENATE BILL 5621



State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Senators Rasmussen, Sheahan, Shin, Roach, Constantine, Patterson, Prentice, Thibaudeau and Kohl‑Welles


Read first time 01/29/2001.  Referred to Committee on Agriculture & International Trade.

Allowing certain health practitioners specializing in the treatment of animals to operate independently of veterinarians.

    AN ACT Relating to animal therapy; amending RCW 18.92.060 and 18.108.010; and creating new sections.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  The legislature recognizes that under current state law, animal massage therapists and animal massage practitioners cannot operate independently of licensed veterinarians.  The legislature further recognizes that massage therapists and physical therapists practicing on people have the legal authority to operate independently of licensed physicians and these massage and physical therapists have contributed significantly to our welfare.  Therefore, it is the legislature's intent to give licensed animal massage therapists and animal massage practitioners, who have specialized in the massage of animals, the analogous privilege of operating independently of licensed veterinarians.  However, the legislature recognizes the need for animal massage therapists to be supervised by an animal massage practitioner or indirectly by a licensed veterinarian.  Furthermore, it is the legislature's intent to have the Washington state board of massage adopt rules under their current authority necessary to implement this act.  These rules would include educational and examination requirements targeted towards individuals intending to specialize in the massage of animals.


    Sec. 2.  RCW 18.92.060 and 2000 c 93 s 11 are each amended to read as follows:

    Nothing in this chapter applies to:

    (1) Commissioned veterinarians in the United States military services or veterinarians employed by Washington state and federal agencies while performing official duties;

    (2) A person practicing veterinary medicine upon his or her own animal;

    (3) A person advising with respect to or performing the castrating and dehorning of cattle, castrating and docking of sheep, castrating of swine, caponizing of poultry, or artificial insemination of animals;

    (4)(a) A person who is a regularly enrolled student in a veterinary school or training course approved under RCW 18.92.015 and performing duties or actions assigned by his or her instructors or working under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian during a school vacation period or (b) a person performing assigned duties under the supervision of a veterinarian within the established framework of an internship program recognized by the board;

    (5) A veterinarian regularly licensed in another state consulting with a licensed veterinarian in this state;

    (6) A veterinary technician or veterinary medication clerk acting under the supervision and control of a licensed veterinarian.  The practice of a veterinary technician or veterinary medication clerk is limited to the performance of services which are authorized by the board;

    (7) An owner being assisted in practice by his or her employees when employed in the conduct of the owner's business;

    (8) An owner being assisted in practice by some other person gratuitously;

    (9) The implanting in their own animals of any electronic device for identifying animals by established humane societies and animal control organizations that provide appropriate training, as determined by the veterinary board of governors, and/or direct or indirect supervision by a licensed veterinarian;

    (10) The implanting of any electronic device by a public fish and wildlife agency for the identification of fish or wildlife;

    (11) A licensed animal massage practitioner as defined in RCW 18.108.010.


    Sec. 3.  RCW 18.108.010 and 1997 c 297 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:

    In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, the following meanings shall apply:

    (1) "Board" means the Washington state board of massage.

    (2) "Massage" and "massage therapy" mean a health care service involving the external manipulation or pressure of soft tissue for therapeutic purposes.  Massage therapy includes techniques such as tapping, compressions, friction, Swedish gymnastics or movements, gliding, kneading, shaking, and facial or connective tissue stretching, with or without the aids of superficial heat, cold, water, lubricants, or salts.  Massage therapy does not include diagnosis or attempts to adjust or manipulate any articulations of the body or spine or mobilization of these articulations by the use of a thrusting force, nor does it include genital manipulation.

    (3) "Massage practitioner" means an individual licensed under this chapter, other than an animal massage therapist or an animal massage practitioner.

    (4) "Secretary" means the secretary of health or the secretary's designee.

    (5) "Massage business" means the operation of a business where massages are given.

    (6) "Animal massage therapist" means an individual with a minimum of one hundred hours training in animal massage for the species of their choice, including massage technique, kinesiology, anatomy and physiology, first aid care, and proper handling techniques.  An animal massage therapist is required to work under the indirect supervision of a licensed veterinarian or a comparable nonveterinarian animal health care professional, including animal massage practitioners.

    (7) "Animal massage practitioner" means an individual with a license to practice massage therapy in this state, or a certified or licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant.  An animal massage practitioner must complete one hundred hours of training in animal massage as set forth for animal massage therapists under subsection (6) of this section.  An animal massage practitioner is a nonveterinarian animal health care professional and is authorized to work independent of referral or supervision and may act as a mentor or referral partner for an animal massage therapist.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.  The secretary of health shall adopt rules as necessary to implement this act.


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