Proposal separates accreditation for companion animals, all species

Published on July 01, 2006
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The Department of Agriculture recently published a proposal, long in the works, to create two tiers of accreditation under the National Veterinary Accreditation Program.

Accreditation allows veterinarians to perform certain regulatory tasks to prevent or control the spread of disease. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service proposes to amend existing regulations to establish two accreditation categories instead of the current single category, to add requirements for supplemental training and renewal of accreditation, and to offer accreditation specializations.

Category I accreditation would focus on companion animals, not including horses. Veterinarians with Category I accreditation would be able to complete certificates for the interstate or international movement of companion animals, participate in surveillance of exotic diseases in companion animals, and work with other animal species as necessary during outbreaks of disease. Category II would encompass all animal species and activities requiring accreditation.

The new rules also would require veterinarians to complete supplemental training every three years to renew their accreditation. Under Category I, veterinarians would need to complete four units of training every three years. Under Category II, they would need to complete nine units. Most of the supplemental training would be available through the Internet and also by mail.

Finally, the proposal provides for veterinarians with Category II accreditation to specialize in activities such as certifying that swine herds are free of Trichinella spiralis. These activities would then fall under the regulatory auspices of the NVAP. Accreditation specialization programs in development include tuberculosis testing of deer and scrapie testing of sheep, and APHIS may consider developing programs in the areas of aquaculture and emergency management.

The full text of the proposal to change the NVAP appeared in a June 1 notice in the Federal Register, which is available at

The AVMA is formulating a response to the proposal. Parties may submit comments until July 31 electronically by visiting, searching under Agency for APHIS, then looking under Docket ID for APHIS-2006-0093; or by mailing four copies of the comments to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0093, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

More information is available by visiting or by contacting Dr. Lawrence Miller, Program Manager, National Veterinary Accreditation Program, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 200, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 734-6188. In addition, the USDA and the AVMA-USDA Relations Committee provided an opportunity for review and comments on proposed changes to the accreditation program in "New directions for the National Veterinary Accreditation Program" (see JAVMA, May 15, 2002).