Buoy’s law was scheduled to become effective on June 15th 2023.

This bill has language about disclosing side-effects that required clarification.

Without clarification it was unclear about the situations in which you needed to provide side-effect information to clients. In order to be sure that you were in compliance you may have needed to implement some impractical procedures which would not have made it any easier for the client to make informed decisions about their pet’s treatment.

Today the Senate passed a bill (S7459) that clarified the language and extended the effective date to June 2024. The new clarifications will be further clarified by regulations that will be available before the effective date.

The bill has had already passed the Assembly and now goes to the Governor for signature. We do not yet know if the Governor will sign the revised bill into law prior to June 15th. The law is enforced by the NY State Department of Education and they have provided some guidance for our members  if there is a short interim period before the Governor signs. (See below).

Thank you to the many members who took the time to contact their Senators and Assemblymembers to ensure the passage of the revision. Your efforts were a very important factor in making sure that the bill was prioritized in time to get through the 2023 legislative session which ends on June 8th.

We understand that many of our members would prefer there to be no Buoy’s law at all. However there has been a strong push from legislators over many years to have some legislation in place that gives pet owners a right to be informed about medications that are known to occasionally result in serious harm. NYSVMS has engaged in negotiations with law makers over the language of the bill, rather than opposing it outright, so that we can be part of the conversation. This has led to a much better end-result than if earlier versions of the bill had been passed into law. 



What to do during the interim period

We asked the Department of Education about what our members should do while we wait for the Governor to sign. NYSED replied:

“We are well aware that the Both Houses of the Legislature have recently approved legislation, A.6996/S.7459, which would amend Chapter 678, including moving the effective date to 18 months after being signed into law. 

While we await the Governor’s action on this bill, we remain aware of its provisions and Legislative intent and will take that into consideration should we receive any complaints of professional misconduct during this timeframe.”

So how should you prescribe medications in the interim while we await the Governor’s action?

There is no indication that NYSED would take any enforcement action of Buoy’s Law that does not arise directly from a client complaint during the period prior to the Governor signing the new bill into law. But NYSED will investigate a complaint that they receive from the public about professional conduct.

The type of situation that would most likely lead to a complaint is the case of Buoy, a dog who was prescribed a painkiller after TPLO surgery. The owner claimed that they were never told that the painkiller could lead to kidney failure. If the side-effects are minor then it is much less likely that a complaint would be made or that an investigation would result in finding professional misconduct.

AVMA sets the standard of professional conduct for the industry for ensuring that the owner understands the risks of treatment in the AVMA policy for owner consent (see below). Even after Buoy’s law becomes effective, following the AVMA recommendation will help minimize the risk of complaints about not securing owner consent. 

Meanwhile please do contact us with any questions or clarifications and we will do our best to answer them.


AVMA Policy – Owner consent

Owner consent better protects the public by ensuring that veterinarians provide sufficient information in a manner so that clients may reach appropriate decisions regarding the care of their animals.

Veterinarians, to the best of their ability, should inform the client or authorized agent, in a manner that would be understood by a reasonable person, of the diagnostic and treatment options, risk assessment, and prognosis, and should provide the client or authorized agent with an estimate of the charges for veterinary services to be rendered. The client or authorized agent should indicate that the information is understood and consents to the recommended treatment or procedure.

Documentation of verbal or written informed consent and the client’s understanding is recommended.