The College of Veterinarians of Ontario has revised its policy document which facilitates the administration of the rabies vaccine to as many animals as possible.

“The College recognizes that the vaccination of animals against rabies is an important public health measure and supports initiatives which reduce the risk of human exposure to the rabies virus,” said Ms. Jan Robinson, Registrar and Chief Executive Officer at the College of Veterinarians of Ontario.

The Council of the College has approved a new Professional Practice Standard which enables Rabies Programs to be offered in both accredited veterinary facilities and, under specific conditions, in unaccredited facilities.

“Through the Rabies Programs initiative, the College supports the efforts of public health units and of veterinarians in increasing rabies vaccination rates. While the chance of having contact with a rabid animal in Ontario is very low, we must remain vigilant in our efforts to control this highly-infectious disease,” said Robinson. “The College has had a policy to permit rabies programs for some time and recently revised the policy to clarify the practice expectations surrounding the program.”

According to the Professional Practice Standard – Rabies Programs, rabies vaccines may be administered to animals that are not part of a veterinarian’s regular practice. With the approval of the College, a veterinarian may offer a Rabies Program at an unaccredited facility at a specific date and time or at an accredited facility on a specific date, on a periodic basis throughout the year or regularly to non-clients. The administration of a rabies vaccine, of course, can remain as part of the regular medical care provided by a veterinarian to cats and dogs that are patients in the practice.

Accompanying the standard is the Legislative Overview – Rabies which describes veterinarians’ obligations under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (Ontario) and the Health of Animals Act (Canada). All relevant policy documents can be found on the College website at

The College protects and serves the public interest through the regulation of the practice of veterinary medicine. Accordingly, veterinarians are licensed, facilities are accredited, standards and policies are developed and maintained, and an investigations and resolutions process is available. The College licenses approximately 4,300 veterinarians and accredits over 2,100 facilities in Ontario.