The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has issued revised vaccination guidelines, with recommendations based on the age, health, risk factors, and previous vaccination history of the horse as important considerations.
Highlights of the AAEP's "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.
Horse owners should, of course, always consult with a trusted veterinarian before initiating a vaccination program. Disease risk-assessment is part of the process, and helps veterinarians customize vaccination programs to the specific needs of an individual horse or group of horses. The impact of infectious disease has been felt across the equine industry in recent years. Prevention is a better strategy, and timely vaccinations can help achieve that goal.
The complete document, along with easy reference charts, is available on the AAEP website at www.aaep.org/vaccinationguide lines.htm.