Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners
Approved February 14, 2003
AN OPEN LETTER TO VETERINARIANS
RE: VACCINATION PROTOCOLS
As in many professions, the practice of veterinary medicine is evolving quickly. Advances in scientific and medical knowledge and techniques may now outdate practices that were accepted even five or ten years ago. One of these areas of practice involves vaccines that are routinely used by many veterinarians. (These issues are currently being addressed in many veterinary circles, both scientific and clinical.)
The Board encourages veterinarians to consider examining their long-standing vaccination protocols in light of recent developments. To simply adhere to custom may, in some cases, not be enough to meet the evolving “standard of care.” For example, recent studies have cast serious doubt on the advisability of routinely administering vaccines for coronarvirus, borreliosis (Lyme Disease), leptospirosis and other infections. A recent report of the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents on cat and dog vaccines (JAVMA, Vol.221, No. 10, Nov. 15, 2002) is an excellent article in point. The article discusses suggested core and non-core vaccines and vaccination intervals based on realistic assessments of exposure to infectious agents. (See also comments on the report found in DVM, Vol. 33, No. 1 January 2003.)
In light of current trends, the Board recommends the following:
(1) Veterinarians should keep informed of the latest developments in vaccines and Vaccinations through regular continuing education and self-study.
(2) A veterinarian should communicate with clients the benefits and risks associated with administration of vaccines.
(3) The veterinarian should then seek the client’s consent to the vaccinations.
Answers to questions on different protocols and consent concepts, new trends and studies, etc. can be found in different reports surfacing on vaccine issues from the following organizations:
American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP)
Texas A & M College of Veterinary Medicine
Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA)
The Board, by making this statement, has no intention to “micro manage” the practice of the profession. The Board understands that no one vaccination and vaccination interval protocol will apply to all patients and that a veterinarian’s informed discretion must ultimately prevail. At the same time, the Board urges veterinarians to address these considerations and discuss them with their clients in order to provide the best possible care to all patients.
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