Vaccines 101

Vaccines 101


Protect your Horse.
Get the right weapons to combat the most common infectious diseases.

 

Why Vaccines Matter?
Vaccines help protect your horses from highly contagious diseases, mosquito transmitted diseases and bacterial diseases.


Common Infectious Diseases

Tetanus
Often referred to as “lockjaw”, tetanus is caused by a toxin-producing bacterium that is often found in the soil. It can enter the skin through cuts, wounds or a newborn’s umbilicus. Symptoms include muscle stiffness and rigidity, flared nostrils, prolapsed third eyelid and legs stiffly held in a sawhorse stance. As the disease progresses, muscles in the jaw and face stiffen, preventing the animal from eating or drinking. More than 80% of affected horses die.

Eastern, Western and/or Venezuelan Encephalomyelitis
More commonly known as “sleeping sickness”, this virus is transmitted to horses by mosquitoes that have acquired it from birds and rodents. Eastern (EEE) and Western (WEE) equine encephalomyelitis have been noted in the United States. Venezuelan (VEE) equine encephalomyelitis has not been seen in the U.S., however a recent outbreak occurred in Mexico. Symptoms vary, but all result from degeneration of the brain. Early signs include fever, depression and loss of appetite. As it progresses, staggering gait and paralysis may develop. Depending upon the strain, between 20 and 100% of infected horses die.

West Nile Virus 
A virus transmitted by mosquitoes that have acquired it from birds or other animals. West Nile Virus infects the central nervous system, and presents with symptoms similar to Encephalomyelitis. Although it has been responsible for equine deaths, most infected horses can achieve full or partial recovery with supportive therapy.

Equine Herpesvirus/Rhinopneumonitis (EHV)
Two distinct viruses, equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) and equine herpesvirus type 4 (EHV-4) cause two different diseases, both of which are known as rhinopneumonitis. Both types cause respiratory problems that may include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, nasal discharge and coughing. EHV-1 may also cause abortion, foal death, neurological signs and paralysis. Rhinopneumonitis is spread by aerosol or direct contact with secretions, instruments or drinking water. The virus may not present any symptoms in carrier animals. Immune protection for pregnant mares requires vaccination with EHV-1 vaccine specifically labeled for abortion protection.

Influenza
One of the most common respiratory diseases in horses, influenza is highly contagious. The virus can be transmitted by aerosol transmission from horse to horse. Symptoms are similar to those in a human with a cold, including dry cough, nasal discharge, fever and loss of appetite. Horses that travel or are exposed to other horses are most at risk.


Who, When and What to vaccinate for?

Class/Age Vaccination Schedule*

Tetanus

Eastern, Western, Venezuelan** Equine Encephalomyelitis

West Nile Virus

Rhinopneumonitis (EHV-4)

Rhinopneumonitis (EHV-1)

Influenza

Traveling/Performance Horses

Annually or following injury

2 or 3 times a year

Spring (and Fall for areas that have persistant mosquito populations)

2 or 3 times a year

2 or 3 times a year

2 or 3 times a year

Non-travelling Horses

Annually or following injury

Annually

Spring (and Fall for areas that have persistant mosquito populations)

Annually

Annually

Annually

Broodmares

Annual and 4-6 weeks pre-partum

Annual and 4-6 weeks pre-partum

Annual and 4-6 weeks pre-partum

3-dose series, consult your vet

3-dose series, consult your vet

Twice a year, with one dose given 4-6 weeks pre-partum

Foal (3 Months or older)

3-dose series, consult your vet

3-dose or 4-dose series, consult your vet

2-dose or 3-dose series, consult your vet

3-dose series, consult your vet

3-dose series, consult your vet

2-dose or 3-dose series, consult your vet


*Vaccination schedules may vary depending on several things.  Some of those might be (but are not limited to) home environment, showing/travel plans, and on whether or not the animal has been on a regular vaccination schedule before. Please consult your vet it you have any questions or concerns regarding the best schedule for your animal(s).
 

** Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis usually only needed for horses travelling in the Southern states or to Central/South America. Please consult your vet if you have any questions.

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