Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine Student Health Policy

College of Veterinary Medicine
Admin Document #16


***Due to COVID-19, the health policy is evolving, and therefore, subject to change***

This policy has been established for all students enrolled in the Veterinary Nursing Program and the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree Program. Students in graduate degree programs with a risk of exposure to rabies, or educational programs leading to certification in any academic department of the College of Veterinary Medicine, are required to follow this health policy unless they are employed within the College of Veterinary Medicine. If employed in any capacity, the College's occupational health program will have precedence. Visiting students who receive occasional instruction (e.g., service courses) in the veterinary medical facilities are subject to these requirements.

Assumption of Risk

All students in the College of Veterinary Medicine encounter animals which may cause traumatic injury and/or expose them to infectious agents which cause disease. They will also be exposed to ionizing radiation, volatile anesthetic gases, and chemical substances which can cause bodily harm. In accepting admission, students voluntarily accept these risks and assume the responsibility to act safely and responsibly at all times.

Pregnancy is a medical condition for which there are definite health concerns, and it is wise for a pregnant student to obtain additional information from her physician about these risks as soon as possible after the onset of pregnancy. The College of Veterinary Medicine is committed to supporting pregnant students in their academic careers. When pregnancy is identified, students (Veterinary Medical or Veterinary Nursing) are invited and encouraged to discuss needs for scheduling adjustments with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. 

The instructional program will not be significantly modified to accommodate the higher susceptibility of the human fetus to potentially harmful agents. We will work within reasonable constraints to revise the student’s schedule. There may be required procedures in clinical and laboratory areas which the student chooses to delay until after delivery. Whenever possible, these required procedures will be made up in a time and manner agreeable to both the student and the staff.

Rabies Immunization

The student health guidelines regarding rabies prophylaxis are consistent with the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines on rabies prophylaxis for persons in the high-risk group. The initial rabies immunization series is required of all students.

Protection from rabies can be best assured by any one of the following methods or circumstances:

  1. a series of three doses of the human diploid cell rabies vaccine (HDCV) or purified chick embryo cell vaccine (PCECV), or
  2. an alternate vaccination series with a demonstrated positive rabies title or
  3. previous post-exposure prophylaxis with rabies vaccine and rabies immunoglobulin for a presumed rabies exposure.

If the student is unsure about the accuracy of timing of previous immunizations, a rabies titer can be performed. If the titer reveals inadequate immunity, a single booster immunization for rabies is recommended by the ACIP (Adult Committee on Immunizations Practices). If the titer reveals adequate immunity, no further immunization is necessary.

Tetanus Immunization

Most students will have received tetanus vaccination as a child and subsequently received one or more boosters. If the student has never received tetanus vaccination, a series of three tetanus vaccinations must be obtained. If s/he had the initial series, but the last booster was received more than ten years prior to the beginning of October Break of the year of matriculation, an updated tetanus immunization is required. Immunization with either diphtheria-tetanus toxoid or TdaP (tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis) is acceptable.


Students who have not had a test for tuberculosis within one year of the beginning of October Break of the year of matriculation will be required to receive a tuberculosis test. Both the PPD skin test and the interferon gamma release assay (blood test) are acceptable. If the test is positive, evaluation by a physician and medical clearance for continued enrollment in the College of Veterinary Medicine must be obtained.


Section VIII of the Indiana State Board of Health Regulation HCD-33, issued May 11, 1977, shall apply to this program. It provides that any person may refuse immunization, medical treatment, or hospitalization when they “….rely in good faith upon spiritual means or prayer to prevent or cure disease or suffering ….” Students who rely on spiritual means and who choose not to be vaccinated may sign a waiver. Any person may be quarantined and certain cultures and medical tests may be required of any person to determine eligibility for release from a quarantine.


Cost and Expense of Program

  • The College of Veterinary Medicine shall bear all costs related to distribution of information, provision of forms, scheduling of major immunization programs with the Purdue University Student Health Center, and maintenance of student records.
  • The student shall bear all costs incurred for immunizations, tests, and evaluation by a physician.

Other Health Services

  • For all injuries and/or illnesses not referenced above, the student will have the same rights and obligations as those of all students at Purdue University.
  • It is required that each student be covered by a health insurance policy. Health insurance for students is available through Purdue University.
  • Students must meet all University immunization requirements (https://www.purdue.edu/push/Immunization/). 

Program Orientation

  • Students shall be provided with a copy of this document prior to matriculation.
  • Students may obtain the required immunizations and tests through their personal physician prior to matriculation.
  • At matriculation, students will receive the “Student Health Policy Compliance Statement”, be given the opportunity to consider the waiver of immunization, and complete Purdue University Student Health Center online immunization record.
  • Following matriculation, students will be scheduled to receive any needed vaccinations, tuberculosis test(s), or other necessary testing through the Purdue University Student Health Center. If students elect to use the services of a private physician, they may do so. A signed statement rejecting vaccinations for religious reasons will negate the requirement for immunization and serve as documentation. This would be submitted to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.
  • The “Student Health Policy Compliance Statement” should be signed and returned to the Office of Student Services by the beginning of October Break of the year of matriculation. It will be made a part of the student records and retained with the academic records following graduation.
  • Matriculated students who do not obtain the required immunizations and tests (or file an exception on the basis of religion) by the beginning of October Break of the year of matriculation shall have their university record encumbered

Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-7607

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