Recommendations on vaccination for Asian small animal practitioners: A report of the WSAVA vaccination guidelines group

M. J. Day, U. Karkare, R. D. Schultz, R. Squires, H. Tsujimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: In 2012 and 2013, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Vaccination Guidelines Group (VGG) undertook fact-finding visits to several Asian countries, with a view to developing advice for small companion animal practitioners in Asia related to the administration of vaccines to dogs and cats. The VGG met with numerous first opinion practitioners, small animal association leaders, academic veterinarians, government regulators and industry representatives and gathered further information from a survey of almost 700 veterinarians in India, China, Japan and Thailand. Although there were substantial differences in the nature and magnitude of the challenges faced by veterinarians in each country, and also differences in the resources available to meet those challenges, overall, the VGG identified insufficient undergraduate and postgraduate training in small companion animal microbiology, immunology and vaccinology. In most of the countries, there has been little academic research into small animal infectious diseases. This, coupled with insufficient laboratory diagnostic support, has limited the growth of knowledge concerning the prevalence and circulating strains of key infectious agents in most of the countries visited. Asian practitioners continue to recognise clinical infections that are now considered uncommon or rare in western countries. In particular, canine rabies virus infection poses a continuing threat to animal and human health in this region. Both nationally manufactured and international dog and cat vaccines are variably available in the Asian countries, but the product ranges are small and dominated by multi-component vaccines with a licensed duration of immunity (DOI) of only 1 year, or no description of DOI. Asian practitioners are largely unaware of current global trends in small animal vaccinology or of the WSAVA vaccination guidelines. Consequently, most practitioners continue to deliver annual revaccination with both core and non-core vaccines to adult animals, with little understanding that "herd immunity" is more important than frequent revaccination of individual animals within the population. In this paper, the VGG presents the findings of this project and makes key recommendations for the Asian countries. The VGG recommends that (1) Asian veterinary schools review and increase as needed the amount of instruction in small animal vaccinology within their undergraduate curriculum and increase the availability of pertinent postgraduate education for practitioners; (2) national small animal veterinary associations, industry veterinarians and academic experts work together to improve the scientific evidence base concerning small animal infectious diseases and vaccination in their countries; (3) national small animal veterinary associations take leadership in providing advice to practitioners based on improved local knowledge and global vaccination guidelines; (4) licensing authorities use this enhanced evidence base to inform and support the registration of improved vaccine product ranges for use in their countries, ideally with DOI for core vaccines similar or equal to those of equivalent products available in western countries (i.e. 3 or 4 years). The VGG also endorses the efforts made by Asian governments, non-governmental organisations and veterinary practitioners in working towards the goal of global elimination of canine rabies virus infection. In this paper, the VGG offers both a current pragmatic and future aspirational approach to small animal vaccination in Asia. As part of this project, the VGG delivered continuing education to over 800 Asian practitioners at seven events in four countries. Accompanying this document is a list of 80 frequently asked questions (with answers) that arose during these discussions. The VGG believes that this information will be of particular value to Asian veterinarians as they move towards implementing global trends in small companion animal vaccinology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-95
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Small Animal Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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