US veterinary accreditation: Renew it (by August 2) or lose it!

The USDA has enacted sweeping changes to the veterinary accreditation program. The National Veterinary Accreditation Program (NVAP) requires all accredited veterinarians to select between two categories of accreditation and requires continuing education prior to renewal. Although accreditation is a voluntary program, the United States depends extensively on accredited veterinarians to carry out many of its animal-health programs and services – including animal inspections, testing, and certifications. Accredited veterinarians serve as the first line of defence in ensuring the health of the nation’s livestock.

If you were accredited prior to February 1, 2010, you must complete VS Form 1-36A, checking box 3 and selecting the category of accreditation desired. This completed application must be returned to USDA prior to August 2, 2010, to avoid expiration of existing accreditation. Following approval of the application, USDA will issue an Elect to Participate Letter establishing a renewal date and assigning a National Accreditation Number. This number will replace any federal or state accreditation numbers previously assigned and will be utilized on all official documents requiring an accreditation number.

The new program institutes a number of significant changes that will impact every future or currently accredited veterinarian. A list of these changes can be found on the USDA Web site (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/nvap/). Following are a few of the key changes.

1. All accredited veterinarians must elect to participate by completing VS Form 1-36A and submitting the application to USDA prior to August 2, 2010; VS Form 1-36A and instructions for completing and submitting the form are available on the NVAP Web site (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/nvap/).

2. Accredited veterinarians will be assigned a random National Accreditation Number to be used on all official documents requiring an accreditation number.

3. You must select one of two accreditation categories:

a. Category I animals: All animals except food and fiber species, horses, birds, farm-raised aquatic animals, all other livestock species, and zoo animals that can transmit exotic animal diseases to livestock.

b. Category II animals: All animals.

4. Your accreditation must be renewed every 3 years following completion of three or six units of continuing education as described below.

5. Supplemental training requirements – you must complete the APHIS-approved supplemental training that is required for your accreditation category: three units of supplemental training per renewal period for Category I veterinarians, and six units for Category II veterinarians. Online training is available at no charge. Other training options are available at minimal cost.

6. Following accreditation in one state, you may apply for authorization to perform accredited duties in each additional state in which you are licensed or legally able to practice.

7. Initial accreditation requirements after July 1, 2011, will include successful completion of APHIS-approved training in addition to all other activities outlined above.

Remember, if you are currently accredited and wish to continue to perform accredited duties, such as issuing Certificates of Veterinary Inspection, you must submit a completed VS Form 1-36A to USDA prior to August 2, 2010, or your accreditation will expire. Links to all pertinent information are available in the Hot Topics section on the AASV home page at http://www.aasv.org.

PADRAP update

Dr Derald Holtkamp provided the following update regarding the Production Animal Disease Risk Assessment Program (PADRAP) to the AASV Board of Directors.

Key milestones and upcoming events

The PRRS Risk Assessment for the Growing Pig Herd was released in June 2009. The database is currently being populated by student interns and a small group of veterinarians. Benchmarking reports are to be available when the database is sufficiently populated.

PADRAP Online is being moved to the Microsoft “dot-net” platform. Work is progressing with developers in the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine at the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine. A new version of the program will accommodate multiple languages.

Development of Version 3 of the PRRS Risk Assessment for the Breeding Herd is to be completed in the spring of 2010.

Veterinarians trained

Web-based training sessions (via gotomeeting.com) are being offered to veterinarians new to the program in lieu of face-to-face meetings. Web-based training sessions were previously offered only to those that had already attended an AASV-sponsored training session to introduce them to the PADRAP Online. Face-to-face training sessions were required for veterinarians new to the program. The training session now includes some instruction on use of the PRRS Risk Assessment for the Growing Pig Herd. Those previously trained on the PRRS Risk Assessment for the Breeding Herd are being given access to the PRRS Risk Assessment for the Growing Pig Herd on request. To date, 229 AASV members have been trained to use the PRRS Risk Assessments; 35 PRRS Risk Assessment training sessions have been conducted in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and online, with 18 online sessions and 17 face-to-face. While PADRAP is being used primarily by veterinarians and researchers in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, veterinarians from Australia, Germany, South Korea, the Netherlands, and Bermuda have also been trained.

Assessments completed

As of February 2010, 1981 assessments of PRRS Risk Assessment for the Breeding Herd have been completed and submitted to the database of Version 2 assessments for 1161 breeding-herd sites.

As of February 2010, 155 assessments of PRRS Risk Assessment for the Growing Pig Herd have been completed and submitted to the database of Version 1 assessments for 120 grow-finish sites.

Presentations and reports

Thirteen presentations on the PRRS Risk Assessment program were made from February 2009 to February 2010. In the same period, 113 production-system reports were sent to veterinarians (including 34 PRRS- Coordinated Agricultural Project [PRRS-CAP] Survival Study reports, five non-study reports, and 74 reports sent to PRRS regional eradication project coordinators).

Refereed publication related to PADRAP

Holtkamp DJ, Yeske PE, Polson DD, Melody JL, Philips RC. A prospective cohort study evaluating duration of breeding herd PRRS virus-free status and its relationship with measured risk. Prev Vet Med. In press.

Research projects utilizing PADRAP

Identifying ecologic and epidemiologic factors in the control of PRRS: A field-based approach. USDA PRRS-CAP.

Assessment of PRRS biosecurity in the field: Application of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians’ PRRS Risk Assessment for the Breeding Herd. USDA PRRS-CAP.

Quantifying risk factors for PRRS virus introduction into swine herds through the use of the PRRS Risk Assessment for Growing Pigs. National Pork Board.

Development of new risk assessments and enhancements to the Web application for the Production Animal Disease Risk Assessment Program. National Pork Board.

Quantifying risk and evaluating the relationship between risk score and PRRS-negative herd survival (“PRRS Survival Study”). USDA PRRS-CAP.

Regional control-eradication projects using PADRAP include the Stephens county Minnesota project, the HAM project in west-central Illinois, and projects in Sonora, Mexico, and Quebec, Canada.


Call for papers – AASV 2011 Student Seminar

Veterinary student scholarships

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians announces an opportunity for up to 15 veterinary students to make scientific presentations during the Student Seminar at the AASV Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, on Sunday, March 6, 2011. Interested students are invited to submit a one-page abstract of a research paper, clinical case study, or literature review for consideration. The submitting student must be a current (2010-2011) student member of the AASV at the time of submission. The membership application is available at http://ecom.aasv.org/membership.

Abstracts and supplementary materials must be received by Dr Alex Ramirez (alex@aasv.org) by midnight on Monday, September 27, 2010 (firm deadline). All material must be submitted electronically. Late abstracts will not be considered. The abstracts will be reviewed by an unbiased professional panel consisting of a private practitioner, an academician, and an industry veterinarian. Students whose papers are selected for presentation at the meeting will be notified by October 15, 2010, and will be expected to provide the complete paper or abstract for publication by November 15, 2010.

To help defray the costs of attending the AASV meeting, Alpharma Animal Health provides a $750 honorarium to the student presenter of each paper selected for the seminar.

Veterinary students whose papers are selected for presentation at the meeting will be eligible to compete for several veterinary student scholarships awarded through the AASV Foundation. The oral presentations will be judged to determine the amount of the scholarship awarded.

Alpharma Animal Health funds a $5000 scholarship for the student whose paper, oral presentation, and supporting information are judged best overall.

The Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, on behalf of Elanco Animal Health, provides $20,000 in additional funding for veterinary student scholarships, enabling the AASV Foundation to provide awards of $2500 each for 2nd through 5th place, $1500 each for 6th through 10th place, and $500 each for 11th through 15th place.

Students whose papers are not selected for oral presentation in the Student Seminar will be eligible to be considered for participation in a poster session at the annual meeting. Alpharma and the AASV fund a stipend of $250 for each student who is selected and participates in the poster presentation.

Complete information for preparing and submitting abstracts is available on the AASV Web site at www.aasv.org/annmtg/2011/studentseminar.htm. Please note: the rules for submission should be followed carefully. For more information, contact the AASV office (Tel: 515-465-5255; Fax: 515-465-3832; E-mail: aasv@aasv.org).

Are you properly packaging laboratory specimens?

Two Illinois veterinarians were recently audited by the Federal Aviation Administration regarding shipping practices involving laboratory specimens. Each was directed to correct errors in shipping practices and instructed to provide staff training to avoid substantial fines.

The regulations governing the shipment of hazardous materials, including materials potentially infectious to humans or animals, were modified in 2006 for all shipments except those using private carriers or vehicles used exclusively for these materials. The law requires that shipments of potentially infectious materials be properly packaged and labeled and that all staff, including veterinarians, responsible for shipment of hazardous or infectious materials be properly trained. Records of this training must be maintained.

The US Department of Transportation has published a guide entitled “Transporting Infectious Substances Safely” (available at www.phmsa.dot.gov/staticfiles/PHMSA/DownloadableFiles/Files/Transporting_Infectious_Substances_brochure.pdf) which describes the regulatory changes and proper packaging techniques. The guide defines the two categories of infectious substances and provides an algorithm to determine the applicable shipping requirements. Also included are diagrams illustrating proper packaging techniques for the different classifications.

The AVMA has also published guidelines outlining the required training for shipping laboratory and diagnostic specimens (www.avma.org/issues/pack_ship_lab_specimens.asp).

42nd AASV Annual Meeting: Call for abstracts – Research Topics session

Plans are underway for the 42nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), to take place in Phoenix, Arizona, on March 5-8, 2011. As part of the meeting, there will be a session highlighting research projects related to swine health and production. Abstracts are now being accepted for potential presentation during the Research Topics session.

Those interested in making a 15-minute presentation should submit a one-page abstract on applied research related to swine health and production issues (eg, virology, bacteriology, parasitology, environment, food safety, odor, welfare) to the AASV, 830 26th Street, Perry, IA 50220; Fax: 515-465-3832; E-mail: aasv@aasv.org.

Please include the presenting author’s name, mailing address, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail address with each submission. Submissions may be e-mailed, faxed, or mailed to arrive in the AASV office by August 16, 2010.

Authors of abstracts selected for presentation will be notified by October 1, 2010, and must provide their complete paper for publication in the meeting proceedings by November 15, 2010.

Participation in the Research Topics session is at the speaker’s expense. The speaker is required to register for the meeting (at the AASV member rate). No speaking stipend or travel expense reimbursement is paid by the AASV.