In Short

Published on April 24, 2019

Revisions could change Animal Welfare Act regulations

The Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is seeking public comment on proposed updates to Animal Welfare Act licensing requirements. The AWA authorizes the USDA to regulate the handling, care, treatment, and transportation of certain animals by dealers, exhibitors, research facilities, and certain other parties.

In 2017, the USDA published an advance notice proposing revisions to AWA regulations to reduce regulatory burden and ensure sustained compliance. After receiving more than 47,000 comments, the USDA is now proposing to amend its licensing requirements to eliminate automatic renewals, according to a March 21 press release. With this change, licensees would have to demonstrate compliance with the AWA and that their animals receive adequate care.

The proposed rule also would require any dealer, exhibitor, or research facility with dogs to maintain a written program for veterinary care and medical records and make those records available to the USDA on request. The program would have to include regular visits by an attending veterinarian to conduct a complete physical examination of each dog not less than once a year, vaccination against contagious and deadly diseases, and preventive care and treatment for hair coats, nails, eyes, ears, skin, and teeth. The proposed rule also would require that dogs have continual access to potable water unless restricted by an attending veterinarian.

See the proposed revisions. Comments can be submitted until May 21 or writing to Docket No. APHIS-2017-0062, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737.

Mexican veterinary school receives COE accreditation

The AVMA Council on Education has accredited the National Autonomous University of Mexico School of Veterinary Medicine.

The decision was made during a special COE meeting on December 20, 2018, at AVMA headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois. This decision revises the probationary accreditation status the COE awarded the veterinary school during its Sept. 23-25, 2018, meeting. The probationary accreditation decision was made after a site visit in spring 2018 and was based on major deficiencies in Standard 3 (Physical Facilities and Equipment), according to information released by the COE.

Mark Cushing, a consultant for UNAM and founder of the Animal Policy Group, said that the probationary status had to do with a specific dairy facility that the COE deemed below its standards during the site visit. UNAM immediately took steps to pull students out of the dairy facility and have them sent to a different location, Cushing said, and indicated to the COE that it had made that change.

Accredited is a status granted to a veterinary college that has no deficiencies in any of the standards and is granted for a period of up to seven years.

UNAM was first accredited in 2011 by the COE and is the oldest veterinary school in the Western Hemisphere.

AAEP releases guidelines on rotavirus

The American Association of Equine Practitioners has published comprehensive guidelines on rotavirus.

The guidelines, released in March, include how to identify, manage, and prevent the disease. Rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhea in foals up to 6 months old.

The AAEP Infectious Disease Committee requested that Dr. Roberta Dwyer, equine extension veterinarian and professor at the University of Kentucky, and Dr. Ashley Whitehead, senior instructor in equine clinical sciences at the University of Calgary, create the guidelines.

"Foal diarrhea remains a disease of enormous significance to the horse industry," Dr. Dwyer said in a press release. "Rotavirus is one of the most common pathogens in major breeding areas worldwide. Early recognition, diagnosis, treatment and biosecurity in cases of foal diarrhea are key to minimizing disease impacts to breeding farms."

The guidelines were approved by the AAEP Infectious Disease Committee and the AAEP board of directors, according to the press release. A PDF version of the guidelines can be downloaded at the AAEP website.

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Related JAVMA content:

APHIS considers stricter animal welfare licensing (Oct. 15, 2017)

Mexican school joins an elite group (April 15, 2011)

Speaking different languages (May 15, 2010)