Dog Sellers-Certificates of Veterinary Inspection FAQ

Wisconsin law requires licensing and inspection for many dog-related operations. Under this law, a certificate of veterinary inspection, or CVI, must accompany each dog sold –this includes dogs that are adopted out “for consideration” – whether that is a donation, covering expenses for spaying and neutering, or any other thing of value.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about CVIs. This information is a guide. Contact DATCP at 608-224-4872 or datcpanimals@wi.gov if you have any question about your requirements.

A CVI is a form completed by an accredited veterinarian and used to verify the general good health of an animal. It may also be called a health certificate.

  • The consigner’s (owner or seller) name
  • The consignee’s (buyer or adopter) name (required for interstate)
  • Animal description or identification number
  • Vaccination record, including rabies vaccine
  • Statement of health based on physical examination
  • Veterinarian’s signature
Wisconsin has always required CVIs for all animals imported into Wisconsin, including dogs. In some cases, there have been CVIs required for movement of livestock within Wisconsin, and sometimes fairs and shows have required them for animals to enter in competition.

No, a CVI is not a guarantee. In fact, the document includes a statement that “No warranty is made or implied.”

A current CVI simply verifies that the dog was seen recently by a veterinarian and is not showing any signs of communicable diseases and that its required vaccination status is up to date. It may record any exceptions to general well-being, but does not guarantee against genetic defects or diseases that may not be obvious, such as early stage heartworm disease.

Interstate CVIs are issued in the state of origin for an animal going to a different state. Each state has its own interstate forms, but all contain the same information. Intrastate CVIs are for animals sold within Wisconsin to meet the dog seller program requirements.

All dogs sold by license holders must be accompanied by a CVI. An intrastate CVI can be used. Interstate CVIs can be used for Wisconsin or out of state buyers if the destination is known when the CVI is written. If the dogs come from out of state, the interstate CVI from the state of origin is adequate as long as it is still valid when the dog is sold. If the buyer is taking the dog(s) out of Wisconsin, they should contact the state of destination for requirements. Wisconsin dog sellers and facilities can work with these buyers to help them comply with those requirements.

You do not need a CVI to sell dogs within Wisconsin if you are not required to be licensed. However, most other states will require you to provide a CVI for dogs you sell to parties in other states. Be sure to check with the State veterinarian’s office in the state of destination for requirements. If you bring dogs into Wisconsin from other states, they must arrive with a valid CVI.

The law defines selling dogs as any transfer of ownership for money or other consideration. So adoption fees, donations, covering the costs of spaying and neutering, and other similar arrangements all count as sales. These dogs are required to have CVIs.

The veterinarian fills out the CVI and the fee will vary based on your veterinarian’s rate.

Only veterinarians can buy the forms. They can buy them online at https://datcp.wisconsin.gov (look under “online services”), or they can call 608-224-4872 between 7:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.


The veterinarian must complete the CVI within 10 days after examining the dog. It is valid for 30 days after the date of examination.

In that case, the dog would need to be re-examined and another CVI issued.

The seller in the other state needs to provide you with valid interstate CVIs, but you are responsible for seeing that the CVI accompanies the dogs when they arrive. If the interstate CVI is still valid when you sell the dog, then you can provide the buyer with a copy of that CVI. If it has expired, you would need to have the dog examined by a Wisconsin accredited veterinarian, who will complete an appropriate CVI.

You will need to provide an interstate CVI completed by a Wisconsin licensed and accredited veterinarian.

Yes, there are spaces for up to 10 dogs to be listed.

For an intrastate CVI, dogs sold to different consignees (buyers/adopters) can be listed on the same CVI. However, for interstate CVIs, all dogs listed on the form must be going to the same consignee.

You can still use the CVI as long as it is still valid. However, you cannot remove or change information on it –including the original seller’s name. You can add your name and address as a re-consignment, but cannot erase or black out the original information. You must provide a readable copy to the buyer as well.

The following will receive copies for the intrastate CVI:
  • Buyer
  • Seller
  • Issuing veterinarian
The following will receive copies for the interstate CVI:
  • State veterinarian of origin
  • State veterinarian of destination
  • Accompany shipment
  • Issuing veterinarian

For an intrastate CVI, you may photocopy the buyer’s copy to give to each buyer, and circle or highlight which dog or dogs that buyer purchased. Be sure to keep a copy in your files that includes this information.

For an interstate CVI, multiple owners cannot be listed.

For intrastate CVIs, the buyer (consignee) information is not required. However, the license holder is required to keep a record of the location that received the dog and the person who took custody or control, if anyone.

For an interstate CVI, you will need to list the consignee information for the final purchaser of the dog(s), and all the dogs on the CVI must be going to that consignee.

The veterinarian must be licensed in the state issuing the CVI. The veterinarian must also be accredited.

Accreditation is an additional credential granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state that allows veterinarians to do official regulatory work - such as signing CVIs.

You can fill in the animal identification and owner or shelter name at the time of the examination. However, the veterinarian must personally examine the dogs listed on the CVI, complete any medical information and statements, and verify that the other information completed by you or your staff before signing the CVI. To do otherwise would endanger the veterinarian’s accreditation and license.

For dogs, there are no required tests. If the dog is five months or older, it must be vaccinated for rabies before receiving a CVI, with the date of vaccination and the veterinarian who administered it indicated. Rabies vaccination by owners is not acceptable.

Dogs five months or older must have current rabies vaccinations to get a CVI.

That does not have to be listed on the certificate, but a veterinarian may choose to include this information. While there is no lemon law for dogs in Wisconsin, consumers are free to file lawsuits if they are unhappy with a dog. If you disclose any known conditions, such a lawsuit is less likely to be filed or to be successful if it is filed.

If you transfer dogs between Wisconsin shelters these are not considered sales, so this does not require CVIs. If you transfer dogs between states you must have an interstate CVI.

There is nothing in the law to prevent a person from suing. However, accurate paperwork reduces the likelihood of a lawsuit and the likelihood of a successful lawsuit if one is filed. Shelters should include a hold harmless clause in their release and adoption documents to help avoid lawsuits.

Penalties may range from a warning letter up to charges filed in court, with resulting fines. This information would be a public record, available to the media and potential buyers.