American Association of Equine Practitioners
American Association of Equine Practitioners

Guidelines HEADING_TITLE

AAEP guidelines are created to simply serve as guidelines for the practitioner and the equine industry. As such, they do not have the force of law. All guidelines issued by the AAEP should be regarded as one of several tools a practitioner may take into consideration in the context of his or her practice. All practitioners are encouraged first and foremost to understand and comply with the laws, regulations and standard of care of their appropriate jurisdiction. While guidelines are intended to promote a standard for veterinary practice, lack of adherence to any specific AAEP guideline does not constitute grounds for disciplinary action. The AAEP can exercise disciplinary action only in connection with its own members and its action is limited to denial of membership in the AAEP. The AAEP shall have no liability whatsoever for any guideline. 

A committee, subcommittee, or task force of the AAEP reviews guidelines every three to five years. Any major revisions are approved by the AAEP board of directors. 

  • AAEP Ethical and Professional GuidelinesClick to Expand

    Standards of Profession

    Professional ethics embodies the behaviors of honesty, integrity and kindness while obeying rules and regulations set forth with mutual respect for opinion and preservation of dignity in interpersonal relationships. The conduct should be in a manner that will enhance the worthiness of the profession. The ethical practice of medicine includes those remedies and treatments that have, as their short or long-term goal, the health and welfare of the horse.

    All members of the AAEP are expected to comply with (a) the code of Ethics of the AAEP (or counterpart in foreign countries); (b) the AAEP’s Ethical and Professional Guidelines, Bylaws and procedures of their enforcement; (c) the code of Ethics of the veterinary medical association of the state or province in which licensed; (d) all rules and regulations of racing applicable at race tracks where practicing; (e) rules of organizations governing horse shows, sales, equine events and the rules of all breed registries in relation to veterinary practices; and (f) all other laws of the land. Members and Veterinarians should be honest and fair in their relations with others, and they should not engage in fraud, misrepresentation or deceit. Violation of any of the foregoing may constitute cause for revocation or denial of membership in the AAEP.

    Organizations and regulatory agencies within the industry notify the AAEP of violations (committed by an AAEP member) within their respective jurisdictions. Additionally, there is a process for members to file complaints against other members. Each case involving an AAEP member is reviewed by the AAEP Professional Conduct and Ethics Committee for disciplinary consideration and a recommendation is forwarded to the Executive Committee for final action. It should be noted that AAEP can exercise disciplinary action only in connection with its own members.

    Reviewed by AAEP board of directors in 2010.


    AAEP position statements are created to establish AAEP policy, which serve as guidelines for the practitioner and the equine industry. As such, they do not have the force of law. All position statements issued by the AAEP should be regarded as one of several tools that a practitioner may take into consideration in the context of his or her practice. All practitioners are encouraged first and foremost to understand and comply with the laws, regulations and standard of care of their appropriate jurisdiction. While position statements are intended to set a standard for veterinary practice, lack of adherence to any specific AAEP position statement does not constitute grounds for disciplinary action. The AAEP can exercise disciplinary action only in connection with its own members and its action is limited to denial of membership in the AAEP. The AAEP shall have no liability whatsoever for any position statement.


    A subcommittee of the AAEP board reviews all of the AAEP guidelines and position statements every five years. Any proposed revisions are approved by a vote of the full board. Dates listed in parenthesis indicate either the date the original statement was approved or the approval date of the latest revision.

    Note: Prior to 2014, the AAEP’s Resource Guide and Membership Directory included several policies from the American Veterinary Medical Association, specifically: AVMA Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics; AVMA Guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine; AVMA Animal Abuse and Animal Neglect; AVMA Animals Used in Entertainment, Shows, and for Exhibition; AVMA Humane Transport of Equines; and AVMA Certificates of Veterinary Inspection. To view these and other AVMA
    policies, please visit https://www.avma.org/kb/policies/pages/default.aspx.


    Click here to view all of AAEP's Position Statements.

     

  • AAEP External Parasite and Vector Control GuidelinesClick to Expand

    Commonly used strategies for external parasite control in horses have not changed significantly in recent years. This document is intended to provide practitioners with current information regarding the control of Ticks, Flies, Lice, Mites and Mosquitos as well as pertinent information on the life cycles, biology and basic terminology used when discussing these parasites. Where appropriate, we have included brief information regarding the diseases for which a specific parasite may serve as the vector.

    It is important to keep in mind that the information contained within these guidelines are suggestions; there are many variations of these suggested programs that will still meet the same goals and follow the same principles.

    There are a number of product treatment charts included in this information. It should be noted that only those products which are approved for use in horses have been included. Download the entire document here or click on the links below for specific parasites. 

    Ticks

    Flies

    Mites

    Mosquitoes

    Lice

    External Parasite & Vector Control Guidelines Task Force: Drs. Dennis French (Chairman), Thomas Craig, Jerry Hogsette, Jr., Angela Pelzel-McCluskey, Linda Mittel, Kenton Morgan, David Pugh, and Wendy Vaala.

    Disclaimer


    AAEP guidelines are created simply to serve as guidelines for the practitioner and the equine industry. As such, they do not have the force of law. All guidelines issued by the AAEP should be regarded as one of several tools or resources, which a practitioner may take into consideration in the context of his or her practice. All practitioners are encouraged first and foremost to understand and comply with the laws, regulations and standard of care of their appropriate jurisdiction. While guidelines are intended to promote a standard for veterinary practice, lack of adherence to any specific AAEP guideline does not constitute grounds for disciplinary action. The AAEP can exercise disciplinary action only in connection with its own members and its action is limited to denial of membership in the AAEP. The AAEP shall have no liability whatsoever for any of its guidelines. A subcommittee of the AAEP board reviews all of the AAEP guidelines and position statements every five years. Any proposed revisions are approved by a vote of the full board. Dates listed in parenthesis indicate either the date the original statement was approved or the approval date of the latest revision.

    © Copyright AAEP 2016

  • Drug CompoundingClick to Expand

    Compounding Resources:

    The AAEP supports the legal, safe use of compounded drugs and encourages veterinarians to become knowledgeable about drug compounding in order to make the right decision for the horse.

    These files are in PDF format which requires that you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. This is a free software program that can be downloaded by clicking here

    Illegal Drug Compounding AAEP Equine Veterinary Compounding Guidelines
    Compounding 101 
    by Dr. Jim Morehead
    Compounding 102 
    by Dr. Jim Morehead
    Compounding Basics for the Veterinarian 
    By Dr. Kenton Morgan
    AHI Compounding
    American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Compounding Policy

    AVMA Compounding 101 Video: Helping Veterinarians further understand FDA's rules and AVMA's policies on compounding

    Educational Article Available for Reprint:  Horse Owner's Guide to Drug Compounding

    Drug Compounding Reference Sites

    Product Comparison Chart

    AVMA Drug Compounding Brochure

    National Association of Boards of Pharmacy

    Legal and Ethical Veterinary Compounding 
    Scott D. Stanley, Ph.D., Professor
    University of California, Davis
    School of Veterinary Medicine

    White Paper: Information on Equine Plasma & Serum Products for the Equine Practitioner 
    Developed by the AAEP Biological and Therapeutic Agents Committee
       
       
       
  • Emergency Disaster and PreparednessClick to Expand

    When an emergency or natural disaster occurs, it is always in the best interest of the horses for both the equine practitioner and the horse owner to be prepared. Foreign animal disease outbreaks or other catastrophic events can adversely affect the health and well-being of horses. The preparation must be as thorough as possible knowing that circumstances will highlight the weaknesses rather than the strengths of those involved.

    In today's world, the equine practitioner must prepare him or herself, family, the practice, and the clients for what to do in a disaster situation. The equine practitioner is uniquely qualified to understand and treat the injuries and stresses of horses in a disaster as well as understand the logistical factors associated with a rapid or planned evacuation of horses. Once the catastrophe strikes, the veterinarian will be seen as an important professional resource.

    Important steps to consider in establishing a disaster and emergency response plan include:

    • Educating clients
    • Establishing a local response system
    • Transportation issues
    • Interaction with local and state government officials, including state veterinary organizations
    • Preparing for actual hands-on emergency rescue situations


    Owners Resources

    National Resources
    :

    FEMA
    National Weather Service (National Hurricane Service)
    U.S. and Canadian Animal Health Offices (State/Provincial Veterinary Offices)
    Ready America
    AVMA (Disaster Preparedness Info for Veterinarians)

    USDA Resources:

    USDA Emergency Management Response System
    National Center for Animal Health Emergency Management
    National Animal Health Surveillance System
    Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Center (Biodefense Reference Library)
    National Animal Health Emergency Response Corps

    Bioterrorism:

    Veterinary Response to Terror Alerts

  • AAEP Guidelines for the Necropsy of RacehorsesClick to Expand

     

    General Guidelines

    The AAEP recommends that all horses that die or are euthanized at a licensed racetrack or training facility undergo a complete necropsy by a board-certified veterinary pathologist at an accredited veterinary diagnostic laboratory.  Necropsy findings should be entered into The Jockey Club Equine Injury Database. 

    It is recommended that regular communication and interaction between the on-site regulatory veterinarian(s), practicing racetrack veterinarians, and the pathology staff at the diagnostic laboratory be established.   This will enhance the necropsy process and the resultant information.  It will also facilitate collaborative efforts when specific research interests are identified.  

    Transportation options for necropsy cases should be identified prior to need.  Storage, pending transport, and transportation of the body should be managed in such a way that tissue degradation and the development of post-mortem artifacts are minimized.  Care should also be taken to employ good infection control practices with respect to equine infectious and/or zoonotic disease. 

    If time or distance constraints preclude the transport of a deceased horse to the veterinary diagnostic laboratory, a field necropsy is recommended.

     

    Field Necropsy

    It is recommended for racetracks where field necropsy must be performed that a dedicated facility be available for performing necropsies.  This facility should be located in a secluded area and be enclosed and covered for both privacy and protection from the elements.  (A temperature-controlled environment is recommended in areas where extreme weather conditions may exist.)  Facility design should allow an equine ambulance to drive through.  The enclosure should contain a large, well-drained concrete or asphalt slab with a rough finish providing adequate traction.   Ample hot and cold water supply and hose are required to clean the area.  Disinfection and/or sanitization protocols should be employed following each necropsy. 

    Field necropsy requires advance communication with carcass removal companies to determine requirements to insure that necropsied remains can be removed.  Carcass removal and disposal should be performed by a licensed animal disposal company and in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.

    Regulatory veterinarians are encouraged to seek guidance from veterinary pathologists to establish field necropsy protocols.  Minimum standards for field necropsy are as follows:

    For appendicular injuries, the affected limb at the site of the injury should undergo gross dissection (+/- diagnostic imaging, toxicology, histopathology) and appropriate documentation of findings (written description and photography).  The necropsy report should include identification of the affected anatomical structure(s) including a description of gross lesions found in bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, skin and blood vessels.

    For non-appendicular conditions, reasonable effort should be made to determine and document the cause of death. For sudden death occurring during or immediately after a race, the cardiovascular and respiratory systems warrant as comprehensive an examination as is possible. 

     

     Race-related Fatalities

    For race-related fatalities, a ‘best practice’ inquest protocol is recommended that incorporates ante-mortem information (examples include: interviews with personnel relevant to the horse and/or the incident, exercise history, race replay video, medical history) and post-mortem findings.

    Ante- or immediately post-mortem blood samples (and urine, when available) should be collected, maintained under chain of custody protocols, and submitted to the official racing laboratory. 

     

    Approved by the AAEP Board of Directors, August 2009.

  • Guidelines for Equine Veterinary Case ReferralClick to Expand

    Through the collaborative efforts of the AAEP, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS), American College of Theriogenologists (ACT), and American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC), Guidelines for Equine Veterinary Case Referral were developed with a goal of providing practical communication guidelines for individuals who collaborate in equine patient care.

    Executive Summary

    Guidelines for Equine Veterinary Case Referral

  • Infectious Disease ControlClick to Expand

    These guidelines were written and updated by the AAEP Infectious Disease Committee for use by veterinarians who encounter cases/outbreaks of an infectious disease in horses. In the event of an infectious disease outbreak, veterinarians are expected to recommend measures for prompt containment of disease that involve isolation and treatment of affected individuals while preventing spread of disease to the unaffected population. The purpose of these guidelines is to emphasize the importance of an effective first response by providing a clear, concise action plan encompassing the clinical signs exhibited to a specific diagnosis of the disease.

    The veterinarian on scene is the most qualified person to guide the outbreak control plan and is critical to effective outbreak control. Each infectious disease outbreak is unique, and an existing plan may require modification for specific situations. If necessary, clinical observations, laboratory results and epidemiologic data, once properly collected, may be evaluated by infectious disease experts off-site.

    In the event of a reportable disease, veterinarians are required to abide by state and federal regulations. These guidelines do not supersede any existing state or federal protocol.

    These guidelines are not intended to replace textbooks, scientific literature, or journal articles. Comprehensive information on the management of infectious diseases is widely available and is recommended reading. 

     

    Guideline Disclaimer

    AAEP guidelines are created to simply serve as guidelines for the practitioner and the equine industry. As such, they do not have the force of law. All guidelines issued by the AAEP should be regarded as one of several tools a practitioner may take into consideration in the context of his or her practice. All practitioners are encouraged first and foremost to understand and comply with the laws, regulations and standard of care of their appropriate jurisdiction. While guidelines are intended to promote a standard for veterinary practice, lack of adherence to any specific AAEP guideline does not constitute grounds for disciplinary action. The AAEP can exercise disciplinary action only in connection with its own members and its action is limited to denial of membership in the AAEP. The AAEP shall have no liability whatsoever for any guideline. 

    A committee, subcommittee, or task force of the AAEP reviews guidelines every three to five years. Any major revisions are approved by the AAEP board of directors. Dates on the document indicate the approval/copyright date of the most current revision.

  • Parasite Control GuidelinesClick to Expand

    Commonly used strategies for parasite control in adult horses are based largely on knowledge and concepts that are more than 40 years old. However, much has changed in this time, necessitating a re-examination of recommendations for parasite control.

    In response to this need, the AAEP’s Parasite Control Subcommittee of the Infectious Disease Committee has produced a comprehensive set of recommendations for helping veterinarians develop improved strategies and programs for parasite control in horses of all ages.

    It is important to keep in mind that the information contained within these guidelines are suggestions; there are many variations of these suggested programs that will still meet the same goals and follow the same principles. Ultimately, each farm (with veterinary guidance) should develop its own program tailored to the specific needs of the farm and each animal. There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” program.

    Guidelines are specified separately for adult and young horses (less than 3 years). All treatment and non-treatment recommendations are made within the context of a preventive program where fecal egg count (FEC) surveillance is being performed.

    Read Parasite Control Guidelines.

  • Reporting Purchase ExaminationsClick to Expand

    Report of Radiographic Findings form

    This is a standardized form developed by the AAEP Public Auction Task Force that is recommended for use by veterinarians at all sales of public auction. The reporting form is designed as a Microsoft Word document so that you can enter your radiographic findings directly onto the form.  We do recommend, however, that you save the final version of each report as an Adobe PDF to help secure the information before dissemination to your respective clients.

    Guidelines for Reporting Purchase Examinations
    The American Association of Equine Practitioners has approved the following guidelines for reporting equine purchase examinations. The spirit of these guidelines is to provide a framework which will aid the veterinarian in reporting a purchase exam, and to define that it is the buyer’s responsibility to determine if the horse is suitable. These guidelines are neither designed for nor intended to cover any examinations other than purchase examinations. (e.g. limited examinations at auction sales and other special purchase examinations, such as lameness, endoscopic, ophthalmic, radiographic, reproductive examinations, etc.). While compliance with all of the following guidelines helps to ensure a properly reported purchase examination, it remains the sole responsibility of the veterinarian to determine the extent and depth of each examination. The AAEP recognizes that for practical reasons, not all examinations permit or require veterinarians to adhere to each of the following guidelines.

    1. All reports should be included in the medical record.
    2. The report should contain:
      • A description of the horse with sufficient specificity to fully identify it.
      • The time, date and place of the examination.
    3. The veterinarian should list all abnormal or undesirable findings discovered during the examination and give his or her qualified opinions as to the functional effect of these findings.
    4. The veterinarian should make no determination and express no opinions as to the suitability of the animal for the purpose intended. This issue is a business judgment that is solely the responsibility of the buyer that he or she should make on the basis of a variety of factors, only one of which is the report provided by the veterinarian.
    5. The veterinarian should record and retain in the medical record a description of all the procedures performed in connection with the purchase examination, but the examination procedures need not be listed in detail in the report.
    6. The veterinarian should qualify any finding and opinions expressed to the buyer with specific references to tests that were recommended but not performed on the horse (x-rays, endoscopy, blood, drug, EKG, rectal, nerve blocks, laboratory studies, etc.) at the request of the person for whom the examination was performed.
    7. The veterinarian should record and retain the name and address of parties involved with the examination (buyer, seller, agent, witness, etc.).
    8. A copy of the report and copies of all documents relevant to the examination should be retained by the veterinarian for a period of years not less than the statute of limitations applicable for the state in which the service was rendered. Local legal counsel can provide advice as to the appropriate period of retention.


    Recommendations for Purchase Exams at Public Auction

    • Radiographic interpretation for potential buyers should be performed by a veterinarian retained to represent that buyer’s personal interest with their particular needs and level of risk tolerance in mind.
    • Use of radiographic reports composed by the sellers’ veterinarian for proposed buyers has the potential to jeopardize all parties involved. The buyer may not be represented adequately, the seller incurs greater risk by potentially misrepresenting the horse and the veterinarian does not have the opportunity to explain his/her findings and their relevance to resale or training, in their opinion.
    • Veterinarians are encouraged to report all radiographic findings when interpreting radiographs for either the seller or buyer at public auction, with particular emphasis on those areas where pathology would commonly occur.
    • Modifying or altering radiographic reports, including deleting findings by either the veterinarian or anyone with access to the report, so that they might be used as a positive marketing tool in the auction venue is considered unethical and fraudulent.
    • Veterinarians with ownership in horses being presented for public auction should avoid being involved in the representation of those horses to potential buyers including, but not limited to, performing a radiographic or endoscopic assessment.
    • Veterinarians involved in performing radiographic examinations on horses for sale at public auction should strive to provide optimumradiographic quality with respect to proper positioning and appropriate exposure of all required views to ensure accurate and reliable determinations of findings.


    Radiographs – Custody and Distribution
    The AAEP recommends the retention of all radiographs on file for a period of three years. The AAEP and AVMA consider this essential for protection against litigation. The assertion of legal precedent is that radiographs are the property of the veterinarians who produced them, and only the information interpreted from the radiograph is the property of the client. In extenuating circumstances a copy of the radiograph can be made for distribution, including for referrals and consultations.  Distribution of the original radiographs risks loss or misplacement such practice should be restricted to use in referrals and consultations, and then released only upon proper request.

    Updated January 2009 by approval of the AAEP board of directors.

    Position on Sale Disclosure (1998)
    The AAEP supports the position that when a horse is sold, any known invasive surgery, disease, injury, or congenital defect which is not apparent should be disclosed to the intended buyer by the owner and/or agent. The AAEP supports disclosure of ownership by single or multiple owners of a horse at the time of offering for sale.

  • Rescue and RetirementClick to Expand
  • Transitioning Retired RacehorsesClick to Expand
  • Vaccination GuidelinesClick to Expand

    These guidelines are intended to be a reference for veterinarians who utilize vaccines in their respective practices. They are neither regulations nor directives and should not be interpreted as such. It is the responsibility of attending veterinarians, through an appropriate veterinarian-client-patient relationship, to utilize relevant information coupled with product availability to determine optimal health care programs for their patients. Based on the professional judgment of those involved with the development of these guidelines, the recommendations for vaccine administration in this document may differ from the manufacturer’s recommendation. However, it is incumbent on each individual practitioner to reach a decision on vaccine usage based on the circumstances of each unique situation and his or her professional experience. 

    Information provided in these guidelines addresses only those products licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for use in horses (including draft and pony breeds).  There are limited data regarding the use of vaccines in other equidae (i.e. asses, donkeys, mules, miniature horses, and zebra); vaccination of these animals is at the discretion of the attending veterinarian.

     

    Guidelines Review Group (2015): Drs. Udeni Balasuriya, Amy Johnson, D. Paul Lunn, Kenton Morgan, Nicola Pusterla, Peter Timoney, Wendy Vaala, W. David Wilson and Jeremy Whitman.

     

    Disclaimer 

    AAEP guidelines are created simply to serve as guidelines for the practitioner and the equine industry. As such, they do not have the force of law. All guidelines issued by the AAEP should be regarded as one of several tools or resources, which a practitioner may take into consideration in the context of his or her practice. All practitioners are encouraged first and foremost to understand and comply with the laws, regulations and standard of care of their appropriate jurisdiction. While guidelines are intended to promote a standard for veterinary practice, lack of adherence to any specific AAEP guideline does not constitute grounds for disciplinary action. The AAEP can exercise disciplinary action only in connection with its own members and its action is limited to denial of membership in the AAEP. The AAEP shall have no liability whatsoever for any of its guidelines. A subcommittee of the AAEP board reviews all of the AAEP guidelines and position statements every five years. Any proposed revisions are approved by a vote of the full board. Dates listed in parenthesis indicate either the date the original statement was approved or the approval date of the latest revision. 

     

    © Copyright AAEP 2015

  • White PapersClick to Expand