A Friendly Reminder about Veterinary Accreditation

A family plans to move from the United States to another country. In preparation for their trip, they take the family dog to their veterinarian for an exam and to have the veterinarian sign a certificate of veterinary inspection indicating that the animal is free of disease and cleared for travel. All systems go, right? Not quite.

Later on in the process, shortly before the family is set to leave, they learn that the veterinarian who signed the certificate isn’t accredited through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Accreditation Program. What’s the family to do?

Well, if they have enough time, they might be able to find an accredited veterinarian who is willing to sign the certificate and perform other required tests and procedures so the family can be on their merry way. If not, the pet may have to stay behind, potentially breaking up a family and almost surely breaking a few hearts.

Are you issuing certificates of veterinary inspection for animals traveling interstate and internationally? If so, are you accredited through the USDA National Veterinary Accreditation Program? We certainly hope so.

Certificates of veterinary inspection, commonly called health certificates, verify that animals – whether they’re traveling to the next state or to another country – have been examined and deemed healthy by an accredited veterinarian. The certificates serve as proof that the animal isn’t carrying an infectious disease that could potentially be introduced to another state or country. It’s an important responsibility, one that all veterinarians should take very seriously. According to the USDA, “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.”

While regulations vary from state to state and country to country, we are professionally and ethically obligated to be in good standing as accredited veterinarians if we are examining animals and signing certificates of veterinary inspection. So we don’t run afoul of a state’s or country’s laws, it’s a good idea that every veterinarian be accredited. An extra bonus to the accreditation process is that there is real value in knowing this stuff.

It’s relatively easy to get reaccredited if your accreditation has lapsed. Both the AVMA and the USDA provide online links and resources that will assist you in the process. You can earn accreditation by taking online courses or by attending continuing education classes at meetings like the AVMA Annual Convention.

Please check your accreditation status. If you need to renew, why not start the process today?

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