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Horse Vaccines

A crucial part of horse ownership is helping to protect your equine friend from disease by means of vaccination. There are several factors that determine what vaccines are needed for each horse and it is recommended that you have your veterinarian design a wellness and vaccination program suited to your horse's needs. During your wellness and vaccination appointment, the veterinarian will examine your horse closely, addressing any current or new health issues (often catching ailments before becoming serious) and answering any questions you may have. After assessing such factors as age, the horse’s intended use, number of horses in the barn or area, and possible exposure to certain disease, your veterinarian will decide which vaccines are suitable.

Another good reason for having your veterinarian design and implement your vaccination program is the security of knowing that the vaccine has been handled properly and administered correctly. In order for vaccines to be effective, they must be kept away from direct sunlight and freezing or high temperatures. Since vaccines are designed to stimulate the immune system, they can sometimes cause a vaccine reaction like swelling at the site, muscle soreness, fever and lethargy. Your veterinarian is equipped to handle these reactions and vaccine manufactures may help cover the cost of the reaction if the vaccine was administered by a veterinarian. Giving the vaccine correctly is also very important; some vaccines require an intramuscular injection, while others are given as nose drops. The timing of a vaccination is also very important. Some require a repeat injection and others need to be given at a certain time of the year.

Please note that the following chart has been designed as a guideline for horse owners and that a standard vaccine schedule does not exist. Different horses require different vaccines and a vaccination protocol should be discussed with your veterinarian.

Vaccine

Protects Against

Time to give

Booster needed?

Encevac-T with Havolgen (an adjuvant used to create a better immune response) or Equiloid

EEE, WEE, and tetanus

Beginning of mosquito season (April)

Needs a booster 3-4 weeks later if first dose. If vaccinating once yearly, should be given late spring ( end of May or early June). If given early spring, booster should be given in the fall.

Fluvac Innovator 5

EEE, WEE, tetanus, rhino, & influenza

Beginning of mosquito season (April)

Should booster in the fall for a full year’s protection. Needs a booster 3-4 weeks if first dose. If vaccinating once yearly, should be given late spring (end of May or early June).

Vetera 5XP EEE, WEE, tetanus, rhino, & influenza Beginning of mosquito season (April) Should booster in the fall for a full year’s protection. Needs a booster 3-4 weeks if first dose. If vaccinating once yearly, should be given late spring (end of May or early June).

West Nile Innovator

West Nile

Beginning of mosquito season

Needs booster in 3-4 weeks if first dose, then annually.

Tetanus Toxoid

Tetanus

Anytime

Needs booster in 3-4 weeks if first dose. If cut, booster required if vaccine has not been given within 6 months.

Pinnacle

Strangles

Anytime; give vaccine by itself, separate by 2 days

Needs booster in 2-3 weeks if first dose, then every 6 months.

**Given intranasal – very important

West Nile Innovator and EWT

West Nile, WEE & EEE

Beginning of mosquito season (April)

Should do fall EWT booster. Needs booster in 3-4 weeks if first dose. If vaccinating once yearly, should be given late spring (end of May or early June).

Pneumabort-K +1b

Rhinopneumonitis

Given to breeding mares

Botulism (Botvax B) Botulism Annually If first dose, then 2nd booster is needed 4 weeks after 1st dose. 3rd booster required weeks after 2nd dose.
Imrab Rabies (not typically done in this area, but available) Annually No, single does annually May be given to mares prior to breeding to reduce number given during pregnancy
Equine Potomavac & Imrab Potomac Horse Fever (PHF) Annually Booster needed 3-4 weeks after initial if first dose May re-vaccinate 3-4 months in areas where risk is high

Explanation of diseases:

EEE – Eastern Equine Encephalitis – this is a virus affecting the brain of horses and people. Birds carry the virus and it is spread by mosquito bite to horse and human. It cannot be passed from horse to human.

Tetanus – Caused by a bacteria entering wounds from barbed wire, nails, etc. Also known as lockjaw.

Strangles – spread by nasal discharge, it causes severely swollen lymph nodes, nasal discharge and cough. People can pass it to an uninfected horse from an infected horse.

West Nile – spread by mosquitoes, it affects the nervous system.

Rhinopneumonitis – an equine herpes virus that affects the respiratory system and can cause abortion in mares.

Influenza – a highly contagious virus that appears suddenly in younger horses. Symptoms include fever, cough and nasal discharge.

Botulism - caused by a toxin found commonly in haylage/silage or wrapped hay that can cause muscle tremors and paralysis. Contaminated feed and water can also carry the botulism toxin.

Rabies - caused by a bite from an infected animal (racoon, bat).

Potomac Horse Fever - spread by waterborne insects and can cause diarrhea, anorexia and fever.

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I wanted to thank you again for your help last Friday. There are many animals on my farm. I love them all but I was particularly fond of little Gabby. It was only a couple weeks ago we saw her rolling in the dirt and so delighted with herself and I remember how she loved to lay on Jeff's chair and bat the tail of our other cat as she walked by. I had hoped she could have experienced more of these joys in her life.
Your skill in diagnosing and presenting her case and your compassion in helping me understand what was best for Gabby was very much appreciated.

Jacquelyn A.
Wileville, Nova Scotia

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