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Section 4: Medical and Health Requirements

4.1 Student Injuries and Accidents

For an injury or accident occurring during a class or laboratory, the injured student must report the injury or accident to the lead instructor. The student and the instructor must fill out the appropriate form, acquired from either MDL or Academic Affairs, and submit the completed form to Academic Affairs, where it will be recorded in the student file until graduation. If the injury requires medical treatment, the student will be advised to seek treatment as soon as possible through Schiffert Health.

Unless the student is injured during duties as a College employee, the students is fully responsible for any financial costs involved in treatment. Neither the College nor the University will be financially responsible for costs associated with treatment.

4.2 Guidelines for Rabies and Tetanus Vaccination

VMCVM is committed to providing the best protection for students against serious health hazards. As a result, rabies and tetanus vaccinations are required. It is highly recommended that students complete the vaccinations prior to beginning the program of study; completion of vaccinations is required to be completed by the end of the first semester the student is enrolled in at the College (generally the fall semester of the first year).

Students may check with the local health department or their primary care physician for further information and availability. If a student is unable to obtain these required vaccines, they should notify Academic Affairs and the student will be provided the vaccine(s) on campus. Regardless of where the vaccinations are received, the student is financially responsible for all vaccination costs. Vaccination documentation must be provided to Academic Affairs, who will place it in the student file for the time the student remains in the DVM program.

If a student fails to provide documentation before the beginning of the spring semester of year 1 (the beginning of the second semester of the DVM program), an academic hold will be placed on the account and the student will not be eligible to register for classes or participate in classes involving live animals. The only exceptions to this policy are those who have an approved exemption from receiving these vaccines. For students wishing to request such an exemption (religious, allergic reaction, etc.), contact Academic Affairs. If an exemption is granted, appropriate documentation must be provided for the student file or the student will continue to be held to the requirements set forth in this section.

4.2.1 Tetanus Vaccination Policy

Students must be vaccinated for tetanus within the last 10 years. If appropriate documentation of current tetanus vaccination is not provided, the student will not be allowed to continue progressing through the curriculum. Academic Affairs will notify students as they come due for tetanus booster vaccinations and have one month from the time of notification to provide documentation that the vaccination was received. Without such documentation, students will not be allowed to work with live animals, and this prohibition will remain in place until the vaccination is received and documentation is provided.

4.2.2 Rabies Vaccination Policy

Veterinary students, along with veterinarians, animal handlers, and some laboratory personnel have a high risk of exposure to rabies, a disease which has over a 99% fatality rate in infected individuals. It is for this reason that pre-exposure vaccination is required for all DVM students. Veterinarians and veterinary students are most likely to work with animals of unknown vaccination status or who have not yet been identified as a rabies suspect.

Diagnosis of rabies in animals is often delayed, thus pre-exposure prophylaxis helps to protect those who are vaccinated when post-exposure therapy is delayed; it may also protect those at risk for unapparent rabies exposure. While pre-exposure vaccination does not eliminate the need for post-exposure treatment, it does simplify the post-exposure therapy required.

Pre-exposure vaccination consists of 2 vaccinations, the first on day 0 and the second on day 7. We strongly encourage you to follow the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For students who have previously received either pre- or post-exposure rabies vaccination, it is required to have rabies titers measured every 3 years. If the titer is below 0.1, a single booster vaccination is required. It has been our experience that the majority of titers taken 2 years post-vaccination have been below protective levels. While we have provided the CDC’s guidelines, we strongly recommend students consider having titers done 2 years after receiving the initial vaccination series.

Note that the student is financially responsible of all costs associated with rabies vaccinations and/or titers.

4.3 Medical Insurance Requirements

In accordance with VMCVM policies, every veterinary student must be covered by health and accident insurance policies that meet minimum University criteria. Students should refer to the following for further information:

The Health Services Fee paid to the University does not constitute medical insurance. This fee only provides for any minor care administered by Schiffert Health Services. There are three options for students to fulfill this requirement:

  • Purchase a plan offered by the University to cover hospitalization and medical treatment received outside of Schiffert Health Serivces
  • Arrange to be included on a family member’s plan (spouse, parent, guardian) 
  • Purchase alternative equivalent insurance from another company

Non-compliance with this policy results in a “hold” on the student’s account. This prohibits students from enrolling in classes.