Clarification Regarding Medically Necessary Procedures

The FVMA is grateful to Governor Ron DeSantis for designating veterinary medicine as an “Essential Service” in the statewide Executive Order No. 20-91 issued April 1, 2020. The order requires all persons in Florida to limit their movements and personal interactions outside of their home to only those necessary to obtain or provide an essential service or conduct essential activities. This ensures the veterinary profession remains able to protect the health and well-being of the state’s pets and citizens. Veterinarians who remain open for business should keep in mind Executive Order No. 20-72, issued by Governor Ron DeSantis on March 20, 2020.

The order directs, “All hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, office surgery centers, dental, orthodontic and endodontic offices, and other health care practitioners offices in the State of Florida are prohibited from providing any medically unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency procedure or surgery which, if delayed, does not place a patient’s immediate health, safety, or well-being at risk, or will, if delayed, not contribute to the worsening of a serious or life-threatening medical condition. Accordingly, all health care practitioners licensed in the State of Florida, including dentists, shall immediately cease performing these elective services.”

 While the governor’s order does not specify veterinary medicine, the FVMA recommends that veterinarians defer elective procedures, that in their judgement are not necessary, to help reduce human-to-human contact and conserve PPE.

Any services provided are, and should be, at the professional, clinical judgement of the treating veterinarian. There is currently NO LIST OF SPECIFIC PROCEDURES that should be deferred, because the procedures that are needed for each patient are dependent on the professional judgment of the treating veterinarian as it relates to each individual situation.


The decision as to what is, or is not, considered medically necessary is left up to the professional, clinical judgement of the treating veterinarian, and should be made on a case-by-case basis.