The World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s(WSAVA’s) Vaccination Guidelines Group (VGG) has concluded a series of meetings and CE sessions in Brazil as it hits the half-way mark in its three-year project to enhance levels of understanding of infectious diseases across Latin America and to advise veterinarians on ‘best practice’ in vaccination.
The VGG visit to Brazil, which took place during August 2017, was centred in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Committee members, including its Chairman, Emeritus Professor Michael Day, held a series of meetings with association leaders, academics, first-opinion practitioners and industry veterinarians. They also made site visits to practices in both cities. To support veterinary education, they delivered two half-day continuing education (CE) events, attended by 280 veterinarians. The event in Rio de Janeiro was live-streamed on Facebook, reaching a further 400 veterinarians on the day of broadcast and double that number during the days immediately after.
In advance of the visit, the VGG circulated an online questionnaire survey among veterinarians in Brazil to collect data on veterinary demographics, infectious disease occurrence and vaccination protocols. The survey was completed by almost 600 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 created the global WSAVA Vaccination Guidelines, the latest version of which was released early in 2016. The WSAVA represents more than 200,000 veterinarians worldwide through 1015 member associations and is focused on enhancing the clinical care of companion animals. One of its core activities is the development of WSAVA Global Guidelines in key areas of veterinary practice, including vaccination. These Guidelines aim to support veterinarians by setting standards for care and recommending best practice in each area.
Commenting on the visit, Professor Day said: “The VGG was delighted by the success of this visit to Brazil; a country with an estimated 100,000 veterinarians with students graduating from approximately 200 public and private veterinary schools.”
“Brazilian 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 remain highly prevalent in Brazil, with the additional importance of canine visceral leishmaniosis as a significant zoonotic disease. Increasing herd immunity by improving vaccination coverage is clearly an important goal for the Brazilian 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 Brazil.”
“The power of social media enabled the VGG to readily monitor the success of the visit and the penetration of the scientific message. A delegate to one of the CE events posted “Bravo! I hope that this wonderful contribution will help to finally promote a change in fundamental concepts about vaccination in our country!”
During 2016, the VGG ran a similar program of activity in Argentina and, in 2018, it will visit Mexico and will run the online survey in nine other WSAVA member countries in the region. A final white paper on the findings of the VGG project will be prepared for publication during 2019.