Beginning Dec. 1, all horses entering the grounds of a USEF-licensed competition must be accompanied by documentation of equine influenza virus and equine herpesvirus (EHV, also known as rhinopneumonitis) vaccinations within six months prior to entering the stables.
Due to several high profile Equine Herpes (EHV) outbreaks in recent years that have involved the neuropathic strain of the virus (equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy-EHM), some competitions have placed vaccination requirements on their competitors that go beyond most accepted medical opinions and raise concern that unnecessary requirements can potentially put a horse at risk. The intent of this rule is to ensure that all licensed competitions comply with the vaccination guidelines for Equine Influenza and Equine Herpes (Rhinopneumonitis) published by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). These guidelines are reviewed by infectious disease experts regularly, and recommend vaccinating competition horses at six-month intervals for both equine influenza (flu) and rhinopneumonitis (EHV-1 and EHV-4). There is not a vaccine that protects against EHM.
Intended to promote proper vaccination protocols, this rule does not anticipate an increased workload for competition management. The flu vaccination information can be added to the documentation already required by most competitions: a horse’s health certificate and a negative coggins test.
If you have questions regarding GR845 please contact the USEF Drugs & Medications department firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-633-2472.
DR. RAMEY NOTES: I don’t think that this is necessarily a bad idea, although no vaccine can prevent the disease that everyone is worried about (EHV-1). If you’re really worried about it, perhaps my article about EHV-1 will help calm your fears. Oh, and don’t worry about “over-vaccinating” your horse, either. That’s just an unwarranted concern. Regardless, they’ve written the rule so just about everybody can figure out a way to comply.