WSAVA Launches Sub-Saharan Africa Vaccination Guidelines Project in South Africa

Image of the VGG during a CE meeting in Pretoria, South Africa. They are: (left to right) Dr Kurt de Cramer, Dr Mike Lappin, Dr Mary Marcondes (Chair), Dr Cynda Crawford, Dr Nathaniel Whitley, Dr Richard Squires.

The Vaccination Guidelines Group (VGG) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has launched a project to boost understanding of infectious diseases and of the importance of the vaccination of dogs and cats across Sub-Saharan Africa and to advise veterinarians in the region on optimal vaccination practice.

The four-year project follows similar initiatives already completed by the VGG in Asia and Latin America. Both culminated in the production of a set of Regional Vaccination Guidelines, which have been translated into multiple languages and are trusted reference points for veterinarians and other stakeholders in these regions. As part of the Sub-Saharan Africa project, the VGG will conduct a review of the prevalence of infectious diseases and current vaccination practice, together with commercial and regulatory challenges and veterinary education in the region.

The project commenced with a visit to South Africa in May 2023, during which VGG members met key opinion leaders, including first-opinion veterinary practitioners, representatives of small animal veterinary associations and academics and made site visits to veterinary practices in Cape Town and Pretoria. They also met government officials responsible for the assessment and licensing of small companion animal vaccines in the region, representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, and groups involved in rabies control in Africa.

As continuing education (CE) is also an important aspect of these regional projects, the VGG delivered CE events attended by a total of 150 veterinarians in Pretoria and Cape Town, including sharing the results of a survey of local veterinary demographics; the occurrence of infectious diseases and current vaccination protocols that it had carried out as part of its preparation for the visit to South Africa.

During the next three years, VGG members will also visit Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana to carry out similar research and consultation activities. In the final year of the project in 2026, based on the knowledge they have gained, they will produce their Regional Vaccination Guidelines, setting out key recommendations for optimal vaccination practice in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The WSAVA’s VGG is a team of experts from around the world focused on providing evidence-based scientific advice to the global veterinary profession on optimum vaccination practice for dogs and cats. It is chaired by Professor Mary Marcondes with members Dr Cynda Crawford, Dr Richard Squires and Dr Nathaniel Whitley.

Dr Kurt de Cramer, a South Africa-based veterinarian with significant experience in vaccinology in the region, has been seconded to the VGG for the duration of the Sub-Saharan Africa project. Professor Michael Lappin, chair of the WSAVA One Health Committee, also joined the VGG during its visit to South Africa to provide specialist knowledge and advice.

Dr Marcondes said: “A number of scientific issues relating to animal vaccination in Sub-Saharan Africa need to be fully resolved and the region also faces unique challenges in the form of significant infectious diseases, such as rabies. These challenges will make our work in Sub-Saharan Africa both important and rewarding. We look forward to learning more about the current situation in each of the countries we visit before offering our insights and experience in the form of our Regional Vaccination Guidelines. We hope they will help to enhance vaccination practice in the region and, in so doing, support the welfare of companion animals.”

She added: “We are very grateful for the support of the VGG’s long-term partner MSD Animal Health, a Platinum Partner of the WSAVA, which has enabled us to carry out this important work.”

“Initiatives such as the Sub-Saharan Africa Vaccination Guidelines Project are essential because routine vaccination has long been considered one of the well-established ways to prevent illness and help pets live longer, better lives,” said David Sutton, global technical director, Companion Animal Vaccines, MSD Animal Health. “MSD Animal Health continues to be a proud sponsor of the VGG because, together, we recognize the importance of independent expert guidance on vaccination best practice – especially in areas, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, that experience unique infectious disease challenges.”

Source: WSAVA

UK Welfare Campaigner Emma Milne to Receive 2023 WSAVA Companion Animal Welfare Award

Image: Dr Milne

UK Welfare Campaigner Emma Milne to Receive 2023 WSAVA Companion Animal Welfare Award

Dr Emma Milne, a British vet and long-standing campaigner on animal welfare issues, particularly those relating to the health problems suffered by many brachycephalic animals, is to receive this year’s World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Award for Companion Animal Welfare.

Emma Milne qualified as a veterinary surgeon in 1996 and worked in practice in the UK for 12 years before becoming a clinical nutrition advisor for Hill’s for seven years, during which time she moved to France. She is well-known in the UK following her appearances in a TV series called Vets in Practice and her role as a presenter on documentaries on wildlife. She was one of the first veterinarians to highlight the health issues suffered by many brachycephalic and extreme breeds and launched the online platform Vets Against Brachycephalism in 2017 to encourage vets worldwide to join the global fight against breeding extremely brachycephalic animals. She also campaigns on the responsible use of animal photos in marketing, calling out advertisers which use deformed animals in a ‘cute’ way, to sell their products.

Dr Milne is also an author – her most recent book, ‘Picking a Pedigree: How to choose a healthy puppy or kitten,’ highlighted health problems in pedigree dogs and cats associated with body size and shape, as well as other inherited conditions. Her other writing includes a series of children’s pet care books, The Pet Detective Series, including ‘Is a cat the right pet for you?’ The books highlight the five welfare needs of companion animals and the importance of their mental, as well as physical, wellbeing.

Commenting on the Award to Dr Milne, Dr Cheryl Good, member of the WSAVA’s Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee (AWWC), said: ” Emma Milne exemplifies the integration of animal welfare with veterinary medicine. Her advocacy on the welfare issues associated with selecting for brachycephaly and extreme conformation has had international impacts on countless numbers of animals. 

“Her impact on the community is felt globally as she inspires future and current veterinarians and the public with her many speaking engagements and written works. Dr Milne’s authorship of children’s books and national media appearances demonstrate her creativity and determination to reach new audiences and magnify her impact.”

Dr Milne said: “I had no idea I’d even been nominated for this incredible award. I had to read the email three times before I believed what I was seeing. I work alongside people who I feel are absolute giants in animal welfare and ethics so to be awarded this myself is indescribable. I can’t thank those who nominated me enough or get close to expressing verbally just how much it means to me, It is things like this that, on the low days, keep me fired up to continue what has become my life’s work.”

The WSAVA Companion Animal Welfare Award recognizes individual veterinarians who have made a significant contribution to animal welfare and inspired others to play their part in advancing welfare globally. Dr Milne will receive her award during this year’s WSAVA World Congress, which takes place from 27-29 September in Lisbon, Portugal.

The WSAVA represents more than 200,000 veterinarians worldwide through its 115 member associations and works to enhance standards of clinical care for companion animals. Its core activities include the development of WSAVA Global Guidelines in key areas of veterinary practice, including pain management, nutrition and vaccination, together with lobbying on important issues affecting companion animal care worldwide. 

Source: WSAVA

Registration Opens for First WSAVA World Congress in China


Registration Opens for First WSAVA World Congress in China

Suzhou set to welcome veterinary professionals from around the world

Registration is now open for the first World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) World Congress to take place in China, one of the world’s fastest growing veterinary markets. With a scientific program offering a host of international speakers, the three-day event takes place from 3-5 September 2024 at the International Expo Center in Suzhou, a city with a rich historic and cultural heritage to the west of Shanghai.

WSAVA World Congress 2024 will feature its trademark high quality, evidence-based lectures on clinical and non-clinical topics delivered by global experts. Following the launch of the new WSAVA Reproduction Control Guidelines, the latest thinking on reproduction will be a key focus. Given growing demand for knowledge on dermatology and oncology in Asia, these topics will feature in dedicated streams, while the program also includes a range of lectures on dentistry, diagnostics, cardiology, internal medicine, nutrition and surgery. Streams in Chinese, together with a focus on Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), will run alongside the WSAVA program.

Commenting, WSAVA President Dr Ellen van Nierop said: “Our vision is that all companion animals worldwide receive the standard of veterinary care that ensures their optimal health and welfare – and WSAVA World Congress is one of the key ways in which we work towards it. We’re delighted at the quality and depth of the scientific program and we’re particularly looking forward to welcoming recent WSAVA Award recipients, who will share their experiences of leading change in their areas of specialism and of the challenges and opportunities they found along the way.”

She added: “Whatever delegates’ level of experience, they will learn innovative approaches and techniques and practical ideas that they can implement to benefit their patients and their colleagues. And, while the learning on offer is second to none, World Congress is also an opportunity to network with colleagues from around the world and to share experiences and learnings in a friendly environment. This includes during the exciting social program which will showcase Suzhou’s fascinating history and current status as one of China’s most dynamic and modern cities. We can’t wait for the annual gathering of our global veterinary community in one of the most dynamic and exciting veterinary markets in the world.”

WSAVA World Congress is the leading global forum for companion animal veterinary professionals. In 2024, it is being hosted jointly by two of the WSAVA’s member associations in the country, the Beijing Small Animal Veterinary Association (BJSAVA) and the Shanghai Small Animal Veterinary Association (SHSAVA). Members of WSAVA member associations receive a discount on registration. Further information is available at

Source: WSAVA