The Infectious Disease Committee of the American Association of Equine Practitioners in January issued revised guidelines for the administration of vaccines to horses. The recommendations are based on the age of the horse and its previous vaccination history, and are meant to serve as a reference for veterinarians.
Highlights of "Guidelines for the Vaccination of Horses" include the following:
- 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 degree of patient benefit and low enough degree of risk to justify their use in most patients
- 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 AAEP committee that updated the guidelines stresses that veterinarians, through an appropriate veterinarian-client-patient relationship, should use the recommendations, 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 committee chair, Dr. Mary Scollay. "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 complete document, along with easy reference charts, is available on the AAEP Web site at www.aaep.org.