The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Vaccination Guidelines Group (VGG) has held a series of meetings and continuing education (CE) sessions in Mexico. It was the final country visit in its three-year project aimed at enhancing levels of understanding of infectious diseases across Latin America and advising veterinarians on ‘best practice’ in vaccination.
The VGG visit to Mexico took place during August 2018 and included meetings in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey. Committee members, including VGG Chairman, Emeritus Professor Michael Day, met with veterinary association leaders, academics, first-opinion practitioners and government regulators. They also made site visits to practices in all three cities. To support veterinary education, they delivered three evening CE sessions. The CE session in Mexico City was also live-streamed and made available to registrants for 30 days after the presentation. Altogether, over 2,000 veterinarians were reached by the live or on-line programme.
In advance of the visit, the VGG circulated an online questionnaire to collect data on veterinary demographics, infectious disease occurrence and vaccination protocols. The survey was completed by 552 veterinarians with the data presented during the CE events.
The VGG develops globally relevant recommendations for best practice in the vaccination of dogs and cats. It has also created the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Global Vaccination Guidelines, the latest version of which was released early in 2016. WSAVA Global Guidelines aim to support veterinarians by setting minimum standards for care and recommending best practice in key areas of veterinary medicine.
The WSAVA represents more than 200,000 veterinarians worldwide through 104 member associations and is focused on enhancing the clinical care of companion animals.
Commenting on the visit, Emeritus Professor Day said: “The VGG was delighted with the success of this visit to Mexico; a country with an estimated 45,000 veterinarians with students graduating from approximately 45 public and private veterinary schools.”
“Mexican veterinarians are accustomed to the principle of annual revaccination of dogs and cats with multicomponent products, but those we spoke to were excited by the new concepts of less frequent and individualized vaccination, incorporated into a preventive healthcare package for pets. Vaccine-preventable infectious diseases such as canine distemper and parvovirus infections, remain highly prevalent in Mexico. Increasing herd immunity by improving vaccination coverage is clearly an important goal for the Mexican veterinary community.”
He added: “We are pleased to acknowledge the financial and logistical support provided by MSD Animal Health for the work of the VGG and for this visit in particular. Colleagues from MSD worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that our independent scientific programme ran faultlessly in Mexico.”
The VGG ran a similar programme of activity in Argentina (2016) and Brazil (2017) and, during 2019, a final white paper on the findings of the Latin America project will be prepared for publication.