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Important health information for incoming veterinary technician students

Due to the nature of your chosen career path, potential exposure to diseases uncommon to the general public is a risk. The Seneca VTE Program is concerned with your safety and the safety of others. Along with the regular vaccines of MMR, tetanus, polio, and hepatitis B, we also require that you receive a series of prophylactic rabies vaccines prior to working with the animals. Rabies is a fatal neurotropic viral disease that is preventable through inoculations.

The vaccine is commonly administered by your family doctor as a series of three intramuscular injections, over a period of three weeks on days 0, 7, and 21. A titre with a minimum rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/mL is required to ensure immunity. Titre results can take several weeks; thus you should have your vaccines and testing completed well in advance to be allowed in any animal handling laboratories. If you have already received the vaccine, a current titre within the past year of at least 0.5 IU is mandatory.

There are two pre-exposure rabies vaccines available that your doctor or pharmacist may order. One is called RabAvert® and the other is IMOVAX®; information regarding these two preparations may be found on the Health Canada website.

Your doctor and/or pharmacist will be able to obtain the vaccine for your inoculation series. The ideal situation is a full vaccination series and acceptable titre prior to handling animals in laboratory settings. Remember, as previously mentioned, full immunity is not reached until you have received all three vaccines and proof of an antibody titre of > 0.5 IU/mL.

Last year the cost was approximately $225 per dose, depending on the pharmacy, not including the administration fee. The cost may be covered under some health plans and the administration of the vaccine is usually covered by OHIP. Partial costs of approximately 80% will be covered by your school health insurance plan, once you begin classes, but remember it is your responsibility to ensure proper prophylaxis before you are allowed to handle the animals. You will be required to sign a waiver prior to handling animals. Please note that insurance coverage excludes vaccine administration fees.

Seneca College in collaboration with The Pink of Health Inc., will be offering a rabies pre-exposure vaccination clinic for any student who would like to participate. Payment of $838 – including administration fees, will be collected in full, at time of orientation on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. Payment methods will include; credit card (card must be present), cash, money order, e-transfer, or certified cheque. Dates and on-campus location of vaccination clinics will be announced during orientation. Please let Sarah Carnegie know if you are interested in participating in our on-site Rabies clinic.

Please submit all documentation of vaccines and blood titer* (if already immunized for rabies) along with your health record (download .docx file) which should be sent no later than Friday, Aug. 31, 2018 to: sarah.carnegie@senecacollege.ca. You may also bring these forms with you to orientation.

Seneca College, VTE Program
Veterinary Technology
13990 Dufferin Street
King City, ON
L7B 1B3

Attention: Sarah Carnegie

Health records must be scanned and forwarded or mailed by the above date irrespective of whether your doctor has yet to sign them. Please note that a complete and signed health record must be submitted no later than Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. Please retain a copy for your own records.

Failure to complete the inoculations will prevent you from handling and working with the animals that are an integral part of the program. This may prevent you from continuing in the program.

Questions regarding health records and rabies may be directed to:

Sarah Carnegie, Animal Health Centre Co-ordinator
sarah.carnegie@senecacollege.ca
416. 491. 5050 ext. 55143