WASHINGTON – The deadline for accredited veterinarians to elect to participate in the National Veterinary Accreditation Program (NVAP) has been extended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service until further notice. At present, accredited veterinarians must elect to continue their participation in the NVAP in order to maintain accredited status.

Each week thousands of election-to-participate forms are being processed; however, the volume of forms combined with the time it takes to process each form necessitates the extended deadline, APHIS said.

Accredited veterinarians provide valuable regulatory services on behalf of the federal government. Allowing currently accredited veterinarians to continue performing their accredited duties after they have elected to participate but before they have received their renewal date from APHIS ensures these veterinarians can continue to provide accredited services to the public.

Approximately 50,000 veterinarians have elected to continue to participate in NVAP to date, and another 10,000 are expected to do so. Processing the applications is time consuming, involves verifying data on each application and often means contacting one or more people to make certain the information entered in the new NVAP database is correct.

APHIS will continue its outreach efforts to ensure that accredited veterinarians who have not yet elected to participate do not inadvertently let their accreditation lapse during this extended deadline period.

For more information and application forms to elect to participate, visit www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health and click on Veterinary Accreditation. Notice of this final rule is published in the Sept. 28 Federal Register and became effective upon publication.