Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Health Science in Health Promotion


Community and Environmental Health

Major Advisor

Megan L. Smith, Ph.D.


Sarah E. Toevs, Ph.D.


Leslie Tengelsen, Ph.D., DVM


Opioid addiction and misuse have become widespread in the U.S. over the past decade, causing a rise in opioid related mortality. High opioid prescribing rates have led public health agencies to examine provider prescribing practices. Research has identified provider characteristics such as gender, age, and years of experience are predictive of opioid prescribing in human medical providers. Veterinarians are frequently licensed to prescribe opioids, yet less is known about the prescribing practices of veterinarians. From a public health perspective, it is important to explore the potential connection between veterinary medicine and the opioid epidemic. The current study assessed whether variations in provider characteristics have similar patterns of influence on veterinary prescribing behaviors. Survey participants (n=369, response rate 48%) were veterinarians currently practicing and licensed through the Idaho Board of Veterinary Medicine. A hierarchical multiple regression model was employed using the sum score of opioid prescribing frequency as the dependent variable (F(4, 352) = 8.52, p < 0.05, R2 =.09). Four independent variables (gender, age, years of experience, and opioid education received in veterinary school) predicted provider characteristics. Of the characteristics selected for analysis, younger age and female gender significantly predicted higher opioid prescribing rates. When opioid education was included in the model, only gender remained significant. This study suggests that while physician characteristics can predict opioid prescribing behaviors in human healthcare providers, these characteristics do not seem to have the same influence on opioid prescribing in Idaho’s veterinary population.