Veterinarians, do you issue health certificates for livestock? Do you perform Coggins testing or test for Equine Piroplasmosis? Do you offer Brucellosis, Tuberculosis (TB), Trichomoniasis (Trich), or Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) testing through your practice? The laws and regulations regarding your eligibility to participate in the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) disease control and eradication programs have changed.

As a result of enhanced statutory authority found in Section 161.0417 of the Texas Agriculture Code (Section 161.0417 of the Texas Agriculture Code), The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) recently adopted Chapter 47 of the Texas Administrative Code. Chapter 47 implements a new Authorized Personnel Program that is similar to the earlier Texas Bovine Brucellosis Program Approved Personnel; however, the new program is not limited to Brucellosis. The Authorized Personnel Program regulations and requirements apply to veterinarians that perform work in any state or federal disease control or eradication program.

What do these changes mean for you?

This summer, all Texas veterinarians who previously held brucellosis-approved status will receive individual, written notification from TAHC regarding the Authorized Personnel Program and the requirement to transfer your brucellosis-approved status to TAHC Authorized Personnel status. We ask that you to sign and return that document to TAHC by September 1, 2014.

If you had brucellosis-approved status with TAHC as of March 1, 2014, through training as a Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine student or training at a TAHC Regional Office, no additional training is required at this time. However, you are welcome to attend any of our TAHC training opportunities if you wish to obtain free veterinary continuing education credits, or need additional review or training on a particular topic such as Brucellosis, Tuberculosis, Equine Piroplasmosis, Equine Infectious Anemia, Pseudorabies, Swine Brucellosis or Scrapie.

TAHC also offers 1.5 hours of continuing education credits for our 90-minute certification course in Trichomoniasis and 1.5 hours of continuing education credits for our 90-minute certification course in Chronic Wasting Disease. These courses are available by request through your TAHC Region Offices and periodically at regional veterinary conferences. Watch the TAHC website and social media sites for announcements of these and future course offerings.

As new disease programs emerge and as existing disease programs evolve, regulatory work in Texas becomes more complex. The TAHC Authorized Personnel Program has enabled the agency to develop a more current and relevant infrastructure of oversight to address these new complexities. This program is here to enhance the effectiveness of disease control and eradication programs by ensuring Texas veterinarians, who are the first line of defense against existing and emerging diseases, receive sufficient training for the TAHC regulatory programs.

If you have any further questions regarding continuing education opportunities or the new TAHC Authorized Personnel Program, contact Dr. Susan Culp at (512) 719-0716 or by e-mail at susan.culp@tahc.texas.gov .