To facilitate the temporary importation of horses for competition and racing purposes, with a minimum risk of transmitting equine influenza, the World Organisation for Animal Health (Office International des Epizooties, or OIE), formally engaged in a public-private partnership with the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) and the International Federation for Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) to establish, within the context of existing OIE standards, a science-based rationale to identify the ideal time period for equine influenza vaccination prior to shipment. Field trials using vaccines based on different technologies were carried out on three continents. The antibody response post-booster vaccination at intervals aligned with the different rules/recommendations of the OIE, FEI, and IFHA, was monitored by single radial haemolysis. It was determined that 14 days was the optimum period necessary to allow horses adequate time to respond to booster vaccination and for horses that have previously received four or more doses of vaccine and are older than four years, it is adequate to allow vaccination within 180 days of shipment. In contrast, the results indicate that there is a potential benefit to younger (four years old or younger) horses in requiring booster vaccination within 90 days of shipment, consistent with the current OIE standard.
Keywords: FEI; IFHA; OIE; age; equine influenza; harmonization; horses; shipment; vaccination.