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Animal Health

Veterinary Accreditation



In 1921, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established the veterinary accreditation program so private practitioners could assist Federal veterinarians in controlling animal diseases.

In 1992, APHIS established a national program. The NVAP is managed nationally but authorization is still on a State by State basis. Creating a national system has helped APHIS standardize the accreditation procedures and requirements, allowing for more uniform administration of the program.

The Current National Veterinary Accreditation Program

The enhancements that have taken place in the NVAP were in the works for many years. During the past decade this country has seen the incursion of several foreign animal diseases (FADs). These have included outbreaks of contagious equine metritis (CEM), outbreaks of equine piroplasmosis (EP), an epizootic of exotic Newcastle disease (END), epizootics of West Nile virus (WNV), cases of screwworm, cases of monkeypox, and pandemics of the influenza virus including H1N1. In the vast majority of these incursions, the FADs have successfully been controlled with the veterinary practitioner being the first line of defense against such catastrophic disease events.

Because of these FAD events several major animal health and veterinary medicine organizations called for enhancements of the old NVAP. The 2001 Animal Health Safeguarding Review of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) cited a need to "redesign and upgrade the National Veterinary Accreditation Program" and suggested that "the accreditation program be the core for emergency preparedness and the response plan."

In 2002 the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) published an article entitled "New Directions for the National Veterinary Accreditation Program" which turned out to be an accurate predictor of many of the elements included in the current program. Please see footnotes below.*

Working with multiple State and Federal agencies, major veterinary medical organizations such as the United States Animal Health Association and AVMA, and academic organizations such as the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, APHIS developed the new elements currently in the NVAP using the federal rulemaking process.

APHIS published a proposal to amend the regulations in the Federal Register on June 1, 2006 (71 FR 3110931121, Docket No. APHIS20060093). It proposed to establish two accreditation categories (Category I and Category II) in place of the current single category, to add requirements for supplemental training and renewal of accreditation every three years, and to provide for accreditation specializations. We solicited comments concerning our proposal for sixty days ending July 31, 2006, and received twenty three comments by that date from State departments of agriculture, veterinary medical associations, universities, and individual veterinarians.

In the process of considering the comments, APHIS identified four changes that we believed would improve the June 2006 proposed rule. On February 27, 2007, we published a supplemental proposed rule in order to have public comment on these four changes (72 FR 86348639). We amended the June 2006 proposal by changing the scope of Category I and Category II accreditation; requiring initial accreditation training for all veterinarians seeking Accreditation for the first time; requiring newly accredited veterinarians to renew their accreditation within three years of the initial accreditation training; and reducing the amount of training required for renewal of accreditation.

We solicited comments concerning the supplemental proposal for sixty days ending April 30, 2007, and received fifteen comments from a State department of agriculture, a veterinary medical association, and individual veterinarians. The Final Rule was published on December 9, 2009.

To view the June 2006 proposed rule, the February 2007 supplemental proposal, and the comments we received on both rules, go to (http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/ main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS20060093).

*JAVMA, Volume 220, NO.10, May15, 2002, New Directions for the National Veterinary Accreditation Program JAVMA News, September 15, 2004, Changes on the horizon for National Veterinary Accreditation Program AVMA Convention Daily News, July 20, 2005, APHIS previews proposal on two tiered accreditation

Still have questions? See Additional Information or contact your local NVAP Coordinator.


Last Modified: December 13, 2013

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