Board updates public health policies, practitioners advisory committee charge

The AVMA Board of Directors recently approved a revised charge for the AVMA Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee (CPAC) along with updates to several AVMA policies. Meeting in Chicago on January 4, the Board voted on changes to policies on public health matters, including tuberculosis, brucellosis, and transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). 

The revised CPAC charge was recommended by the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents (COBTA) to designate that the aquaculture and seafood representative on the committee is to be nominated by the American Association of Fish Veterinarians. The charge was further amended so that those with a background in aquarium medicine may also be considered for the position designated for zoo and wildlife medicine.

And finally, the CPAC charge was clarified to state that the COBTA representative on this advisory committee will serve as the chair of CPAC, as has historically occurred.

Tuberculosis eradication in cattle and cervids

The AVMA Council on Public Health (CoPH) reviewed the policy on “Tuberculosis Eradication in Bovidae and Cervidae in the United States.” The council suggested editorial revisions to improve clarity, as well as revisions to:

  • Include mention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and indicate that these agencies should collaborate with each other and with external stakeholders.
  • Include slaughter surveillance, import testing, and trace herd testing as important surveillance activities.
  • Prioritize investigations of the source and spread of Mycobacterium bovis infection.
  • Emphasize strategic removal of high-risk animals and retention of low-risk animals within affected herds.
  • Emphasize the importance of partnerships with public health officials.
An illustration of Mycobacterium bovis
An illustration of Mycobacterium bovis

Canine brucellosis

Following a review of the policy on “Canine Brucellosis,” the CoPH suggested revisions to improve clarity and emphasize that canine brucellosis is a zoonotic and One Health issue.

For instance, the revised policy states, “Although B canis infections are uncommon in humans, several documented cases have been reported in the literature, and this disease is likely underreported in humans.” And elsewhere: “The AVMA urges state and federal agencies to work together to develop a disease management plan utilizing a One Health approach, including control of the inter- and intrastate spread of B canis and elimination of brucellosis from the canine population.”


Most of the revisions to the policy on “Brucellosis” that were recommended by the CoPH were editorial to improve clarity. Additional revisions emphasize that regulations must allow for continued research efforts, particularly to produce more efficacious vaccines.

Accordingly, the updated policy states, “It is vitally important that regulations allow for continued research efforts, especially to produce more efficacious vaccines against Brucella, while continuing to maintain the highest standards of biocontainment and biosecurity that are appropriate for working with this organism.”

Support for veterinary extension and outreach services

The CoPH reviewed the policy on “Support for Veterinary Extension and Outreach Services” and made revisions to emphasize the importance of sufficient funding to ensure competitive salaries and allow for the production of quality resources for these services’ clients.

The updated policy reads as follows:

“The AVMA recognizes the vital role of veterinary extension and outreach services to protect the health and wellbeing of animals, contribute to public health, and increase marketability of safe, wholesome, and humanely produced food products. The AVMA supports sufficient funding for veterinary extension services to ensure competitive staff salaries and optimize resources for their clients.”

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies

The CoPH reviewed the policy on “Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies.” Revisions improve clarity and include mention of encouraging appropriate funding to advance scientific knowledge about TSEs.

A version of this story appears in the April 2024 print issue of JAVMA