Rabies Vaccinations in Animal Shelters

21 May Rabies Vaccinations in Animal Shelters

The Utah Legislature passed SB 120 during the 2014 Legislative session. The passage of this bill allows Animal Shelters to admin- ister the Rabies vaccine to shelter animals under the indirect super- vision of a licensed veterinarian as outlined in the rabies compen- dium. The National Association of Public Health Veterinarians Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control, 2011 Part I.B.1 says:

“Parenteral animal rabies vac- cines should be administered on- ly by or under the direct supervi- sion of a licensed veterinarian on premises. Rabies vaccinations may also be administered under the supervision of a licensed vet- erinarian to animals held in ani- mal control shelters before re- lease. The veterinarian signing a rabies vaccination certificate must ensure that the person adminis- tering vaccine is identified on the certificate and is appropriately trained in vaccine storage, han- dling, administration, and in the management of adverse events. This practice assures that a quali- fied and responsible person can be held accountable for properly vaccinating the animal. “ (http://www.nasphv.org/Documen ts/RabiesCompendium.pdf)

Prior to 2004 only licensed veteri- narians could administer rabies vaccines (or under the proper su- pervision outlined in the Utah Vet- erinary Medical Practice Act). This “shelter rabies exemption” only applies to vaccinating shelter animals. Therefore procedures also need to be in place to insure that these rabies vaccines are not administered to animals owned by the general public. This can be accomplished by the super- vising veterinarian performing periodic audits that correlate the vaccine certificates, the shelter vaccine log and a physical count of the rabies vaccines used.

The audits provide a continuing assurance that all of the Rabies Compendium requirements are in compliance.

Since not meeting the new law and rabies compendium require- ments can result in action against the supervising veterinar- ians license, we encourage those veterinarians to seek and administer proper training via continuing education and to be aware of all the changes in shel- ter medicine law.