Get Ready for Vaccine Season

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Vaccine Season is Ramping Up - Are You Ready?

Horses are always under threat by any number of infectious diseases. But if you work with your veterinarian and stick to a regular vaccination schedule, you can not only fight these diseases, but build their immune systems against further threats. Prevention is far less expensive than the physical, emotional, and financial costs of treating an ill horse.

Some of the most common diseases are mosquito-borne, including Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), Western equine encephalitis (EEE), and West Nile virus (WNV), with some cases of Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) reported in the U.S. as well. These are mosquito-borne diseases that attack the neurological system, and can be fatal. The first mosquito hatch depends upon your region and your climate, so it is a good idea to consider the timing of possible exposure when you are building your vaccination program.

Tetanus is a specific bacteria transmitted through the soil, and can cause severe muscle paralysis. Rabies can affect horses too, and subsequently affect humans. The equine herpes virus (EHV) comes in many forms, but all can affect a horse’s respiratory, reproductive, or neurological systems. Similarly, the equine influenza virus (EIV) is frequently mutating, just like the human version, and can be just as dangerous. S. equi (strangles) is the horse version of strep, affecting the respiratory system and lymph nodes.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) categories vaccines as either core, which tend to be more common and widespread, or risk-based, which may vary by region or circumstance. Most are recommended to be administered annually, or semi-annually, depending on several factors, including age and condition of the horse, plus any risk factors associated to exposure to other horses. Also, a horse that is away from its home a lot has a different disease exposure than horses that don’t travel.

Your best chance for a healthy year is vaccinating before the chance of infection. Use these charts as guidelines, in cooperation with your veterinarian, to build your vaccination program, and keep your horse on the right track to health.

Here are some additional helpful resources to help you choose the right vaccine and follow the proper vaccination schedule -

Additional Resources:

Adult Vaccination Chart

Foal Vaccination Chart

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  • Published:
  • Updated: 10/27/2017: 12:22:50 PM ET