Lexington, Ky. – In January, the USEF Board of Directors approved an addition to the rule book, which outlines equine vaccination requirements at licensed competitions. Beginning December 1, 2015, all horses entering the grounds of a Federation-licensed competition must be accompanied by documentation of Equine Influenza Virus and Equine Herpes Virus (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.