After the year we have had, you’re probably sick of hearing about vaccines, but our equine friends need protection from some of the nasty viruses they may encounter. Vaccines are designed to optimize your horse’s immune system so that they’re primed for a rapid response to an infectious agent. While a vaccine isn’t guaranteed to stop your horse from contracting the infection, it will minimize the effects if your horse is infected. There are numerous vaccines available for horses including Encephalomyelitis, Tetanus, Influenza, Equine Herpes Virus, Rabies, Botulism, Potomac Horse Fever and West Nile Virus to name a few.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners defines a set of core vaccines that all horses should receive. Core vaccine programs include: Equine Encephalomyelitis (Eastern and Western), Rabies, Tetanus and West Nile Virus. These viruses have high mortality and morbidity with no specific cures/treatments available to infected animals. Most infected horses that show clinical signs are euthanized.
Your horse should be vaccinated against these core diseases regardless of their travel schedule and use. Additional respiratory or reproductive vaccines may be advised if you are breeding, showing or travelling. It is recommended that all horses in your yard be vaccinated for the same illnesses and on similar schedules to help maximize the protection offered to your horses.