The Infectious Disease Committee of the American Association of Equine Practitioners has issued revised guidelines for the administration of vaccinations to horses. The Committee, chaired by Mary Scollay, DVM, has made recommendations for the use of vaccines based on the age of the horse and its previous vaccination history. The guidelines are intended to serve as a reference for veterinarians as they employ vaccines in their respective practices.
Highlights of “Guidelines for the Vaccination of Horses” include:
· The identification of tetanus, Eastern/Western Equine Encephalomyelitis, West Nile virus and rabies as “core” vaccines. Core vaccines have clearly demonstrated efficacy and safety, and exhibit a high enough level of patient benefit and low enough level of risk to justify their use in the majority of patients.
· The addition of a vaccination protocol for anthrax.
· Recommendations for the storage and handling of vaccines, as well as information on vaccine labeling and adverse reactions.
· Inclusion of the AAEP’s Infectious Disease Control Guidelines, which provide an action plan for the containment of infectious disease during an outbreak.
The Committee stresses that veterinarians, through an appropriate veterinarian-client-patient relationship, should use the vaccination guidelines coupled with available products to determine the best professional care for their patients. Horse owners should consult with a licensed veterinarian before initiating a vaccination program.
“The goal of the guidelines is to provide current information that will enable veterinarians and clients to make thoughtful and educated decisions on vaccinating horses in their care,” explained Dr. Scollay. “The vaccination schedules are complemented by supporting information on topics including vaccine technology and disease risk-assessment, allowing veterinarians to customize vaccination programs specific to the needs of an individual horse or group of horses. The impact of infectious disease has been felt across the equine industry in recent years, and the Committee hopes that these guidelines will be a useful tool in preventing or mitigating the effects of equine infectious disease.”
The Committee, comprised of researchers, vaccine manufacturers and private practitioners, updated guidelines that were established by the AAEP in 2001.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, the AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its 9,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.