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

‘Buzzing’ WSAVA World Congress in Lisbon Draws a Global Crowd


Image: A view of the exhibition

This year’s World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) World Congress in Lisbon, Portugal, was attended by almost 3,800 delegates from 103 countries, making it one of the largest and most diverse World Congresses ever. The attendance reflects the value companion animal veterinary professionals attach to learning, sharing and networking with their global colleagues, says the association.

During a packed scientific program, several WSAVA Committees previewed new Global Guidelines – including a set of ‘paradigm-shifting’ reproduction control Global Guidelines and an update to its widely-referenced vaccination guidelines. The new Global Guidelines will be published in full as soon as they have completed the peer-review process.

New to the Congress program was a stream dedicated to the sustainability of the profession. Panel discussions on topics such as ‘modern leadership’ and the ‘next generation veterinary team’, with experts, including Dr Latonia Craig, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at the American Veterinary Medicine Association; Dr Daniella dos Santos, Director of Professional Culture at IVC Evidensia and Vanda Dučić, President Elect of the International Veterinary Students Association, highlighted the need for all members of the profession to listen to each other and to support each other in developing practical solutions to the many challenges it faces.


Image: Dr Ellen van Nierop, WSAVA President, at the opening of World Congress

Domestic Violence as a One Health issue was discussed at a pre-congress workshop led by the WSAVA’s One Health Committee with keynote speakers including Dr Melinda Merck, a forensic veterinarian and former Chair of the WSAVA’s Animal Wellness and Welfare Committee and Dr Paula Boyden, Chair of the Links Group in the UK, which raises awareness of the link between the abuse of animals and of people. A toolbox of resources from the workshop is now available on the WSAVA website offering education and advice for the development of global solutions to this difficult issue.

Marking World Rabies Day 2023 on September 28, speakers in a mini-symposium assessed progress with the ‘Zero by 30’ target for the elimination of canine rabies. Dr Sarah Cleaveland, Professor of Comparative Epidemiology at the University of Glasgow and member of the WSAVA One Health Committee, told delegates at the session, supported by MSD Animal Health, that the target was challenging but achievable. A white paper and call to action is being prepared by the speakers. It will be available on the WSAVA’s website later this year.

Commenting on this year’s World Congress, WSAVA President Ellen van Nierop said: “Setting standards for companion animal practice and delivering professional and personal development for the veterinary team are two of our key strategic goals and the variety of content on offer at this year’s World Congress confirmed our intent to meet these goals.


Image: Dr Latonia Craig speaking during the non-clinical stream

“It was a privilege to learn from so many fellow professionals, who share our commitment to drive our profession forward. We thank all those who worked so hard to make World Congress such a success – our fantastic speakers, our exhibitors and industry partners and, of course the expert volunteers from the WSAVA’s committees whose knowledge and dedication is transforming companion animal practice around the world.”

Five new members joined the WSAVA during its assembly meeting prior to World Congress, bringing its membership to 116 veterinary associations globally. They are:

  • The Albanian Veterinary Society
  • The Algerian Veterinary Space Foundation
  • Colegio Medico Veterinario de Chile
  • Pride VMC
  • The Iran Small Animal Veterinary Association
  • The World Association for Veterinary Dermatology

WSAVA World Congress 2024 will take place in Suzhou, China, from 3-5 September.

Source: WSAVA

Updated WSAVA Essential Medicines List for Cats and Dogs Published


Dr Paulo Steagall

Updated WSAVA Essential Medicines List for Cats and Dogs Published

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has launched the second edition of its Essential Medicines List for Cats and Dogs. Recently published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice, the document supports companion animal veterinarians in many regions of the world to access vital veterinary medicines by supporting the availability of drugs required for minimum standards of clinical practice.

The new edition contains updates received from WSAVA members and other stakeholders following the launch of the original version in 2020. It includes a number of recently-introduced drugs and the addition of behavior-modifying therapies. Inhalant anesthetics and non-dissociative anesthetics have been moved from the complementary essential medicines list to the core essential medicines list.

The WSAVA Essential Medicines List for Cats and Dogs was developed by the association’s Therapeutics Guidelines Group (TGG). The Group leads the WSAVA’s campaign to resolve global inequalities in accessing veterinary medicines. Currently, serious variations exist in the accessibility of even basic medicines around the world. This significantly affects the ability of veterinarians to deliver minimum standards of veterinary practice, which, in turn, compromises animal welfare.

Commenting, Dr Paulo Steagall, Past Co-chair of the Therapeutics Guidelines Group, said: “The WSAVA Essential Medicines List for Cats and Dogs helps veterinarians around the world to provide proper preventive care and to treat the most frequent and important diseases in dogs and cats, while maintaining appropriate animal welfare standards. It is proving a key tool in the WSAVA’s campaign to improve global drug availability. It is also supporting regulatory decision-making around licensing, registration and approval and assisting with pharmacovigilance.”

He added: “We were delighted to receive many useful suggestions following our call for updates at the start of 2023 and we are proud that the new edition has been published. We hope it will continue to support WSAVA members and all companion animal veterinarians in providing an optimal level of care to their patients.”

The WSAVA represents more than 200,000 veterinarians worldwide through its 116 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. 

The work of the WSAVA Therapeutics Guidelines Group is kindly supported by Zoetis.

Source: WSAVA

WSAVA responds to the decision to ban the dog meat industry in South Korea


WSAVA President Dr Ellen van Nierop

WSAVA responds to the decision to ban the dog meat industry in South Korea

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) welcomes the decision by South Korea to ban the dog meat trade. Currently up to one million dogs a year are factory farmed and killed for human consumption in the country. The ban, which comes into force in six months’ time with a three-year phase out, will make the breeding, slaughter and sale of dogs and dog meat for human consumption illegal from 2027.

While the WSAVA is sensitive to cultural variances, it strongly discourages the consumption of dog and cat meat. It does this both from an animal welfare perspective as the trade typically operates in an inhumane and dangerous way, but also because of evidence documenting the human health risk it poses. This includes perpetuating the transmission of diseases, such as rabies and cholera, and undermining dog vaccination programs.

According to Humane Society International, the decision is the result of considerable public and political momentum. With more than six million pet dogs now living in Korean homes, demand for dog meat is at an all-time low. A 2023 Nielsen Korea opinion poll shows that 86% of South Koreans won’t eat dog meat in the future and 57% support a ban. 

Commenting, WSAVA President Dr Ellen van Nierop said: “As an association focused on ensuring the health and welfare of companion animals and on highlighting the benefits of their bond with humans, we’re delighted that South Korea has joined a growing list of countries in banning the dog meat trade. We congratulate all those who have campaigned for a ban to be introduced.”

Source: WSAVA