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Request for Public Comment: Animal Health - 2018 Brucella Canis Review

The Ohio Department of Agriculture is accepting comments regarding the rules found in Chapter 901:1-5 of the Ohio Administrative Code. The rules in this package have been reviewed pursuant to Chapter 119 of the Revised Code and are being proposed as follows. The comment period will remain open through August 17, 2018. Comments may be emailed to eComments@agri.ohio.gov or mailed to Legal Section, Ohio Department of Agriculture, 8995 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068.

Ohio Administrative Code rules 901:1-5-12 and 13 have been reviewed pursuant to the Five-Year Rule Review requirements. The rules in this package regulate the disease known as Brucella canis which is designated under section 901:1-21-02 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) as dangerously contagious and infectious. Pursuant to authority in section 941.02 of the Ohio Revised Code, the Director of Agriculture has authority to use all proper means in the prevention and eradication of infectious and contagious diseases which pose a threat to public health or animal health. 

The rules set forth in this package create testing standards as well as standards recognizing dog kennels as Brucella canis free. The Department has reviewed the rules with its stakeholders and have proposed the following amendments:

901:1-5-12 outlines testing standards of Brucella canis. The rule outlines the acceptable types of tests as well as the entities which may perform the tests. Further, the rule outlines three types of Brucella canis classification: positive, suspect, and negative. The rule requires that upon the diagnosis of either a Brucella canis positive or suspect that the animal be quarantined until further testing. Additionally, the rule outlines potential restrictions on the movement of animals which are positive or suspect. 

The rule has been amended to remove the canine antibody test (more commonly referred to as the “card test”) and the polymerase chain reaction test (PCR) as accepted tests for Brucella canis. Through independent verification by the Department these tests have been found to be unreliable in the testing of Brucella canis. In addition, the rule has been amended to update the process from being released from quarantine. Animals which successively test negative to a brucella canis test at least sixty days apart can be properly determined to be free of brucella canis.  

901:1-5-13 sets forth the procedures for a kennel licensed under chapter 956 of the Revised Code to become certified as a Brucella canis free kennel. A kennel may be awarded that designation if the kennel has had two successive whole kennel negative tests, continues required testing, and ensures that all additions to the kennels comply with the rules. This certification is currently voluntary and has been requested by the industry as an opportunity to show consumers that their facility is a clean, safe, and reputable business. 

The rule has been amended to use consistent terminology with OAC 901:1-5-12. Further, clarifications have been made to the rule to ensure proper enforcement.