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.
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.