Horse Care: Vaccinations



TETANUS TOXOID When a wound such as a deep puncture is contaminated, toxins from the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium tetani, which thrives in the equine environment, cause lockjaw and general muscle spasms, usually resulting in death. Vaccinate yearly.
Give a booster vaccination at the time of penetrating injury or surgery if most recent dose was more than six months earlier. Broodmares should receive a vaccination four to six weeks before foaling.

EE/WEE/VEE Eastern Western Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis, aka Sleeping Sickness, is a vector-borne viral disease causing inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Vaccinate yearly, in spring (before insect season). Where Encephalomyelitis is common and/or where there are two annual mosquito “blooms,” give a booster EEE/WEE/VEE vaccination every six months about a month before the onset of the mosquito season.

RABIES Invasion of the central nervous system by a virus that is fatal if untreated; it also transmits to other animals–including humans. Recommended yearly, especially in areas where rabid wildlife is reported or areas considered to be endemic.

WEST NILE VIRAL ENCEPHALMYELITIS A mosquito-born encephalitis that can be deadly to horses and has been reported in all but a few states. Vaccination recommended very six months.
Two West Nile Virus vaccines are now available; consult your veterinarian about the best choice for your horse. If you’re vaccinating your horse against WNV for the first time, he’ll require a booster after the initial injection.

INFLUENZA Acute, contagious, viral respiratory-tract inflammation; occurs in isolated cases or in epidemics. Your veterinarian can recommend which form of the vaccine is suitable for your horse. Intranasal Vaccine every six months; add booster two to four weeks before anticipated exposure, such as a show or a long haul.
Intranasal vaccine gives a good immune response when properly applied but can be tricky to administer. If your horse is fussy about substances sprayed up his nostrils, consider using the injectable form. Injectable Vaccine every six months; add a booster two to four weeks before anticipated exposure.

RHINOPNEUMONITIS Caused by a herpes virus, a contagious infection of the respiratory tract; often induces abortion in pregnant mares. Optional – every six months.
Rhinopneumonitis and Influenza vaccines are sometimes administered in a single combined dose. If your mare is bred, consult your veterinarian about a Rhino vaccination schedule to safeguard her pregnancy.

remember: always contact your veterinarian regarding the vaccines appropriate for your horse!