African Horse Sickness
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why must a horse be vaccinated for AHS by a vet, and not by the owner, for example (particularly for Endurance riding)?

Asked: 19/12/2007, 08:42 by Thunder Smit.
Answered: 30/12/2007, 09:28 by Douglas Welsh, James Urry.

Within the AHS control area in the Western Cape and for all horses moving into the WC from the Infected zone (rest of SA) horses have to be vaccinated by a veterinarian as this is an EU protocol requirement for international export purposes. In the infected zone it is not necessary that a vet vaccinate the horse but it is compulsory for horses to be vaccinated against AHS here but can be done by owner or manager etc.. However, certain sport disciplines eg. Endurance riders, may have set their own requirement that the horses be vaccinated by a vet even if the event takes place outside the WC  in order to have some guarantee of the vaccination being done correctly. The Jockey club also have their own additional rules for AHS vaccination which are more stringent even than the EU viz. AHS done every 12 months whereas the EU will accept 24 months .

Dr. Gary Bührmann

In competition horses, AHS vaccination is required by the regulatory bodies of the different competing disciplines.  The vaccination usually needs to be recorded in the horse's passport, and signed by a veterinarian.  As Dr Bührmann points out above, this provides some assurance that the vaccination has in fact been given, and that it has been given correctly.  If owners or trainers were allowed to sign off for vaccination, there would be a much wider scope for irregularity.


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