Routine vaccines play such an important role in keeping your horse healthy year round. Vaccines are important because they help prime the immune system and help prevent the risk of infection and aid in the prevention of disease. There is no standard vaccine program so all vaccines should be consulted with your veterinarian to fit your horse or herd specifically. Core vaccines are vaccines to help protect against diseases that are contagious or pose a risk to public health or are required by law. All horses should receive core vaccines. Risk-based vaccines are vaccines that should be determined by both you and your veterinarian. These vaccines needs are determined by the location of your horse, if you travel with your horse, and exposure to other horses. Below is an overview of basic vaccine guidelines but these are only a guideline and all vaccine programs should be consulted with your veterinarian.
Tetanus is caused by a Clostridium tetani which is a bacteria found in the ground, manure, and intestine of the horse. The bacteria will enter through an open wound on the horse. Symptoms include muscle stiffness, stiff legs, nostril flaring, and lockjaw. For prevention annual vaccines are recommended.
Easter/ Western Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE/WEE) is transmitted by mosquitoes. The symptoms are fever, depression, head pressing, difficulty walking, and change in behavior, fever, seizers, and death. To prevent you should vaccinate twice a year in the spring and fall.
West Nile Virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. The symptoms are ataxia, muscle tremors, very sensitive, fever, and inability to stand. To prevent you should vaccinate annually.
Rabies is a zoonotic disease and is transmitted through a bite of a wild animal. This disease is fatal and should be vaccinated against annually.
Risked based vaccines:
Equine Herpesvirus can cause rhinopnemonitis which is a respiratory infection. This vaccine should be administered twice a year if recommended by your veterinarian.
Equine Influenza is a high contagious respiratory disease that could be spread through the air. Symptoms include nasal discharge, fever, cough, and poor appetite. This should be vaccinated for two times a year if your horse is being boarded, showed, or travel.
Strangles Streptococcus equi is a contagious respiratory disease. Symptoms for strangles are fever lymph node enlargement, cough, and nasal discharge. Vaccinate if boarding, showing, or traveling.
If you give your own vaccines to your horse or herd yourself make sure to read the vaccine label for instructions. It is also very important to make sure the vaccine is always kept cold.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact your County Extension Office to speak with a Livestock Agent or your local veterinarian.