The health and welfare of horses and their owners is the primary goal of members of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). We believe that these guidelines merely reiterate the standard of practice and what is common in equine veterinary medicine. The AAEP provides continuing education for veterinarians that focuses on the appropriate use of antimicrobial drugs. Our members are committed to the practice of preventive immune system management through the use of vaccines, parasiticides, stress reduction, and proper nutritional management. The AAEP recognizes that proper and timely management practices can reduce the incidence of disease and therefore reduce the need for antimicrobials; however, antimicrobials remain a necessary tool to manage infectious disease in horses. In order to reduce animal pain and suffering, prudent use of antimicrobials is encouraged. The following are general guidelines for the prudent therapeutic use of antimicrobials in horses:
The veterinarian's primary responsibility is to aid in the design of management, immunization, housing, and nutrition programs that will reduce the incidence of disease and the need for antimicrobials.
Antimicrobials should be used only within the confines of a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship; this includes both dispensing and issuance of prescriptions.
Veterinarians should endeavor to ensure proper on-farm drug use.
Prescription or dispensed drug quantities should be appropriate so that stockpiling of antimicrobials on the farm is avoided.