December 1, 2011
Dear Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine Rabies Vaccination Committee,
We would like to present clarifying information to the Committee on several aspects of Rabies vaccination practices previously discussed at the November 9, 2011 committee meeting.
1. Florida Statute 828.30 “Rabies vaccination of dogs, cats and ferrets. The owner of any dog, cat and ferret shall have the animal revaccinated 12 months after the initial vaccination. Thereafter, the interval between vaccinations shall conform to the manufacturer’s direction.” A handler does not need a 2 year Rabies certificate to show a dog in Florida a stated at the November 9th committee meeting. All 50 States recognize the 3 year duration of immunity for the Rabies vaccine.
2. The USDA established a standard for Rabies vaccines to be licensed under Title 9 of the Code of Federal Regulations Section 113.209 and the 3 year Rabies vaccine meets their 3 year label requirement with the efficacy they have determined. It also meets the criteria for the Center for Disease Control’s National Association of State Public health Veterinarians, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, every veterinary College in the USA including the University of Minnesota, all manufacturers of Rabies vaccines, as well as the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. The CDC’s NASPHV 2008 Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control specificallycautions against doing precisely what the Minnesota Board is allowing veterinarians to do: “All vaccines used in State and local Rabies control programs should have at least a 3 year duration of immunity. No laboratory or epidemiological data exists to support the annual or biennial administration of a 3 year vaccine following the initial series. All vaccines MUST be administered in accordance with the specifications of the product label or package insert”. There is no option for veterinary discretion in vaccine administration given by the CDC’s NASPHV when they declare that Rabies vaccines MUST be administered according to the product label or package insert. They do NOT state they “may be”administered in accordance with the product label. If the committee is aware of any scientific data/research documenting vaccinating for Rabies more often than every 3 years is recommended by a nationally recognized veterinary medical authority, please provide that information and cite the source and date of the recommendation.
3. Informed Consent. Veterinarians who fail to disclose to clients that they are administering a 3 year duration of immunity Rabies vaccine every 2 years may be violating consumer protection laws and this practice appears to constitute “Unprofessional Conduct” as defined by Minnesota Administrative Rule 9100.0700 Sub Part 1B “Engaging in conduct likely to deceive the public “. One of the causes for which a Minnesota veterinarian may have their license revoked under Minnesota Statute 156.081 is “fraud, deception or incompetence in the practice of veterinary medicine including any departure from or failure to conform to the minimum standards of prevailing practice, without actual injury having to be established.” By allowing Minnesota veterinarians to go un-reprimanded for routinely giving animals a 3 year vaccine every 2 years, the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine is knowingly allowing veterinarians to engage in unprofessional acts by their own Administrative Rule. Under the Sub Part 9 of the Minimum Standards of Care is Informed Consent, “a client shall be informed by the veterinarian prior to treatment, of the treatment choices for consideration by the client”. The Board must enforce this important component of medical practice.
4. Standards of Care/Practice. Veterinarians, like physicians, are licensed professionals obligated to follow the established standard of medical care set forth by their nationally recognized medical associations. For veterinary care, that standard of care is set by the recommendations promulgated by the Compendium, NAPHII, AVMA, AAHA, World Small Animal Veterinary Association and vaccine manufacturer. The failure to meet the minimum standards of care /practice appears to constitute“unprofessional conduct” as cited in Minnesota Administrative Rule 9100.0700 Sub Part 1A “prohibited acts” and Q “performing or prescribing unnecessary treatment”. It also appears the Board has allowed Minnesota veterinarians to violate the established minimum standards of care as set in Sub Part 2 Pharmaceutical Services Section B “a veterinarian is responsible for assuring that a prescribed drug or biologic prescribed for use is properly administered”. The above organizations and the vaccine manufacturer set the protocol for Rabies vaccine administration. They are not “clubs”, as they were referred to in the November 9th committee meeting. The Board requires Minnesota veterinarians to complete 40 hours of continuing education credits per 2 year license renewal and they endorse these organizations programs to provide these educational opportunities.
5. We believe the unscientific survey sent to veterinarians is comparable to the IRS sending a survey to taxpayers asking “do you cheat an your taxes?” then requiring a personal and identifying electronic response. We feel it would be more appropriate to have client records audited to verify Rabies certificates issued with Rabies vaccines administered, as documented in the animals record.
6. City Codes. Explore how city codes originated and who was/is responsible for uneducated ordinances. It would appear veterinarians failure to educate, which would result in safe care of animals and fair treatment of consumers, is not only unprofessional but acting against the Oath veterinarians take to “accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of professional knowledge and competence”. There should be a UNIFORM RABIES PROTOCOL established for all of Minnesota. We respectfully request that the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine issue a policy statement declaring that Minnesota veterinarians shall adhere to the Rabies vaccination protocol recommended by the CDC’s National Association of State Public health Veterinarian’s Rabies Compendium and that all Rabies vaccines be administered in accordance with the manufacturer’s labeled instructions.