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Section 4: Medical and Health Requirements

4.1 Student Injuries and Accidents

For an injury/accident occurring during the progress of a class or laboratory, the injured student is required to report such accident to the instructor in charge. The student and the instructor will fill out the appropriate form (available from the MDL office and Academic Affairs) and submit it to Academic Affairs, where it will be kept in the student file until graduation. If the injury requires medical treatment, the student will be advised to seek this treatment in the first instance from Schiffert Health.

Note: unless the student is injured as a VTH employee, neither the College nor Virginia Tech are responsible for any financial costs involved in treatment. Such will be borne by the student and his/her insurance policy.

4.2 Guidelines for Rabies and Tetanus Vaccination

It is the policy of the CVM to provide the best protection for its students against serious health hazards; therefore, rabies and tetanus vaccination are required. You may complete the vaccination regimens either prior to entrance, or soon after entry into the DVM program. Please contact your local department of health or family physician for information regarding availability. If you are not able to obtain the vaccine in your area, we will arrange for your vaccination to take place here on campus. Please remember that you are responsible for covering the cost of your vaccinations.

Documentation of vaccination must be provided to the Office of Academic Affairs and will be filed in your student record for the duration of your DVM program. If you have not provided this documentation before spring semester of Year 1, an academic hold will be placed on your University account. The consequence of this hold is you will be unable to register for classes or participate in classes involving live animals. If you have an approved exemption from vaccination or wish to request such an exemption, you must contact Academic Affairs. If an exemption is granted, official documentation must be provided so that your file may be updated accordingly. 

4.2.1 Tetanus Vaccination Policy

Students are required to have a tetanus vaccination within the past 10 years. A student will not be permitted to progress through the program unless there is documentation of a current tetanus vaccination on file. You will be notified by the Office of Academic Affairs as to when you are due for a tetanus vaccination and will be given one month to provide documentation. Failure to provide the documentation will result in the inability to work with any live animals.

4.2.2 Rabies Vaccination Policy

Rabies is a serious and fatal disease, and veterinary students are considered at high risk of exposure, along with veterinarians, animal handlers and certain laboratory personnel.

Due to this high-risk, pre-exposure vaccination is mandatory for all of our students. Veterinarians and veterinary students are most likely to work with animals with unknown vaccination status or who may not yet be identified as a rabies suspect 

As a diagnosis of rabies in an animal can be delayed, pre-exposure prophylaxis might protect persons whose post-exposure therapy is delayed and might provide protection to persons at risk for unapparent exposures to rabies. Pre-exposure vaccination does not eliminate the need for additional therapy after a rabies exposure, but it simplifies post-exposure therapy. 30

Pre-exposure vaccination is a series of two vaccinations (day 0 and 7). We refer you to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, which you can find here.

If a student has previously received either pre- or post-exposure vaccination, it is mandated that a student be tested for rabies antibody every 3 years via serum sample. If the titer is below 0.1 IU/ml, the student will be required to receive a single booster dose of vaccine. 

If not vaccinated already, all second-year students MUST receive the complete series of pre-exposure rabies vaccination. We will offer a vaccination clinic during the week prior to the first week of classes.

The student is financially responsible for both pre-exposure vaccination and titer. 

Please note: It has been our experience that the majority of titers performed two years post-vaccination have been below protective levels. We are providing the CDC guidelines, but strongly recommend that you consider having a titer done 2 years after receiving your initial vaccination series. Those who have insufficient levels of antibody for protection as determined by WHO standards will be required to receive a booster inoculation. 

4.3 Medical Insurance Requirements

The CVM has a policy that all veterinary students must be covered by health and accidental insurance policies, which must meet minimum University criteria. Please refer to the healthcare webpage for further information.

Please note that non-compliance with this policy will result in a "hold" being placed on the student's account and inability to enroll in courses.

Students should be aware that the Health Services Fee paid to the University does not constitute medical insurance. This fee only provides for any minor care provided by the Schiffert Health Services staff. Students have three options regarding full medical insurance coverage.

  1. They may purchase a plan offered by the University to cover hospitalization or medical treatment received apart from the Schiffert Health Services. 
  2. They may wish to arrange with parents/family to be included in their plan. 
  3. They may purchase alternative equivalent insurance from another company.