Animal Health Update: Issue 7


Issue 7

Rabies Compendium Updated

An update to the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians’ Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control was recently released. In Michigan, the compendium is used to manage rabies cases and adherence to this document when handling human-animal bites is mandated under state law. The Michigan rabies decision-making flowcharts (Michigan Rabies Assessment: When A Person Has Been Exposed and Michigan Rabies Assessment: When Animals Have Bitten People or Been Exposed) have been updated to reflect the revisions. In general, the new changes are:

  1. A dog or cat, not currently vaccinated against rabies, but with documentation of a previous rabies vaccination, that had contact with a rabid or potentially rabid animal is to be re-vaccinated against rabies within 96 hours of exposure and observed for 45 days. Previously the protocol for handling this type of animal would have been to advise euthanizing the animal. If the owner refused, the animal would be quarantined for six months and re-vaccinated at the onset of the quarantine or at month five of the quarantine.
  2. A dog or cat not vaccinated against rabies that had contact with a rabid, or potentially rabid animal, is to be euthanized immediately or vaccinated against rabies within 96 hours of exposure and quarantined for four months. Previously, the dog or cat would have been quarantined for six months and could be vaccinated against rabies either at the onset of the quarantine or at month five of the quarantine.
  3. A dog or cat, not currently vaccinated against rabies and with no documentation of a prior vaccination that had contact with a rabid or potentially rabid animal may be able to undergo serological monitoring to look for evidence of an adequate anamnestic response. Consult MDARD if there is interest in pursuing this option. Otherwise, the animal is to be handled in the same manner as an unvaccinated animal (See #2).
  4. The listing of United States Department of Agriculture approved rabies vaccines has been updated. Michigan law requires the owner of a dog that is four or more months old apply for a dog license and the application requires proof of rabies vaccination. Additionally, it is illegal to own a dog six months of age and older unless the dog is licensed. Proof a dog is currently vaccinated against rabies with a USDA approved vaccine by a USDA accredited veterinarian is required for a dog to be individually licensed. There are certain exceptions for kennel licensing in lieu of individual licensing.

If you have further questions regarding managing animals that may be rabid or may have been exposed to rabies, please contact MDARD at 1-800-292-3939. Current rabies information is found at 

Hot Topic: Changes in Antibiotic Access for Beekeepers

By: Meghan Milbrath, Michigan State University Extension


As mentioned in the Michigan Animal Health Update Issue #5, the United States Food and Drug Administration has expanded the list of antibiotics classified as Veterinary Feed Directive (for antibiotics delivered through feed) or prescription (for antibiotics delivered through water) to include all human medically important antibiotics administered to animals through feed or water. The changes to antibiotic access will change the way many producers will be able to get treatments for their livestock. One group that will be uniquely affected is beekeepers. In the past, if a beekeeper needed antibiotics for their colonies, they could purchase them over the counter at a farm store or a beekeeping supply company. This process is changing and new regulation requires antibiotics for honey bees and other food producing livestock be available only through a prescription from a veterinarian or a VFD. Beekeepers who need antibiotics to treat a disease in their colony, will soon have to go through three steps: set up and maintain a relationship with a licensed veterinarian, have the veterinarian diagnose the disease/need for the antibiotic treatment and issue an order and obtain their antibiotics from a pharmacy, or a VFD through an approved feed mill. The ruling will be fully implemented by January 2017 and some medications have already changed their labels to follow the new regulations. Once the label has been changed, it must be followed. 

How can beekeepers get the medications that they need?
This ruling affects antibiotics, including oxytetracycline (terramycin), lincomycin (Lincomix) and tylosin (Tylan). Click here for a listing of affected applications.  To access these antibiotics, a beekeepers will have to work with a veterinarian.  There are three steps to this process:

  1. Setting up a veterinarian patient client relationship.   In order to write a prescription or to issue a VFD, a veterinarian must have a relationship with the beekeeper.  In Michigan, the FDA guidelines are to be followed to constitute a patient client relationship, § 530.3(i) (21 CFR 530.3(i)).  Each vet should know what they need to do to make sure these guidelines are met. 
  2. Getting a prescription. A licensed veterinarian will have to follow guidelines to issue a prescription. This may involve a laboratory diagnostic test, a field test, or a visit by a veterinarian or a tech. The veterinarian will have to follow best management practices to issue a prescription. Most veterinarians are learning about honey bee diseases, and the guidance documents will change as this goes into effect. 
  3. Filling a prescription. Beekeepers will have to purchase the antibiotics from a licensed pharmacy. Since many of the prescriptions used for bees are for honey bees only, and are available in large quantities, many private vets or small pharmacies may not carry the needed antibiotics. University pharmacies or compounding pharmacies have larger stores of lesser used antibiotics, and are a good place for beekeepers to call first to have a prescription filled.

This ruling will be in full effect by the start of 2017. From then on, honey bees will be treated a lot more like animals, and will be under veterinary care. While the transition will be difficult for many beekeepers, it will have some positive effects. First, this will protect our antibiotics. This is important for our own health, but also for the health of our bees. We are already seeing resistance to antibiotics.  More judicious use will make the treatments we have available for longer and will help future beekeepers. Second, as veterinarians are trained on honey bee diseases, there will be many more individuals who can diagnose, advise and understand honey bee diseases. The more people who understand bee diseases, the better we can prevent and cure them, promoting better health for our bees.

Veterinarians who are interested in getting on the MSU mailing list to receive information on trainings can sign up here. Others who are interested in updates to this issue and other pollinator related issues can sign up for MSU Pollinators and Pollination newsletter - click here, and select "pollinators and pollination."  

Above photo and credit: Dr. Therese McCarthy, beekeeper and vet.

Program Spotlight:

Fairs and Exhibition


The Animal Industry Division is responsible for regulating fairs and exhibitions. In each of the last two years, AID field staff veterinarians have visited 45 county fairs. They have accomplished this by either visiting with the fair board and superintendents prior to the fair or actually inspecting the fairs while they were in progress. Every fair must have an accredited veterinarian on call whenever there are animals on the premises. If you’re interested in assisting your county fairs with this requirement, please contact the fair boards and if you are already a fair veterinarian, please remember to:

  1. Check all livestock for official identification (cattle, goats, sheep, swine and privately-owned cervids). About 50 percent of the fairs visited over the past two years had some ID violations. Don’t forget about the petting zoos, open classes and rodeos.
  2. Check all equine entries for current negative Coggins results. This includes the pony rides and other such exhibitions.
  3. Check all of out-of-state entries for Interstate Certificates of Veterinary Inspection forms (health papers).
  4. Report the fact, suspicion or belief an animal is either affected by a reportable disease or contaminated with a toxic substance (this includes swine with a temperature of 105 or greater) to MDARD at 800-292-3939 (daytime) or 517-373-0440 (after hours emergencies only).

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Lansing, MI 48909


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