Horse Health

Body Invaders

July 23, 2009

Knowing what type of vaccination to use and when to use it could save your horse’s life.

From America’s Horse

Keeping track of all the vaccinations your horse needs and when you’re supposed to give them can be mind-boggling.

Let us help you make it a little easier. It is important to understand that not all vaccinations need to be given to all classes of horses in all locales. However, there are core vaccines that should be administered at least once yearly to all horses because the diseases are found throughout the United States.The core vaccines include tetanus, eastern/western equine encephalomyelitis, West Nile virus encephalomyelitis and rabies.Today’s article covers vaccinations typically administered to pleasure or recreational horses and competition horses.

The vaccinations you need, and when you need them, can vary based on whether you are vaccinating a broodmare, a yearling or weanling.

Vaccines are just one piece of the horse-health puzzle. Learn more about keeping your horse healthy with the “Your Horse’s Health” DVD.

Pleasure or Recreational Horses:

  • Tetanus toxoid (also known as lockjaw): Administer annually in the spring.
  • Eastern, western and Venezuelan encephalomyelitis (also known as sleeping sickness): Administer annually in the spring. Fall vaccination may be indicated in parts of the Southeast, where mosquitoes are active year round.
  • West Nile virus encephalomyelitis: Administer annually in the spring. A fall booster may be indicated in parts of the Southeast where mosquitoes are active year round.
  • Influenza (also known as “flu”): Administer annually, with a booster prior to likely exposure such as at shows or parades.
  • Rhinopneumonitis (also known as equine herpes virus, EHV1, EHV4, and “rhino”): Administer annually with a booster prior to any expected exposure.
  • Rotavirus (also known as foal diarrhea): Not recommended in pleasure horses. A conditionally licensed Rotavirus vaccine is available. A Rotavirus vaccine is only recommended for broodmares prior to foaling, in areas of the country where the disease has been diagnosed. Consult your veterinarian prior to administration of this vaccine.
  • Rabies: Administer annually.
  • Botulism: Administer annually. Since this disease is endemic only to the Kentucky and Ohio regions, you should consult your veterinarian prior to administration of the vaccine.
  • Strangles (also known as distemper): Administer annually.
  • Potomac Horse Fever (also known as PHF): Administer annually. However, as this disease is prevalent only in the eastern half of the United States, consult your veterinarian before administration of this vaccine.

Competition Horses:

  • Tetanus toxoid: Administer annually.

Keeping your horse’s vaccinations current is just one of the many ways you attempt to keep him healthy. Learn more about maintaining your horse’s health with the “Your Horse’s Health” DVD.

  • Eastern, western, and Venezuelan Encephalomyelitis: Administer annually. Fall vaccination may be indicated in parts of the Southeast, where mosquitoes are active year round.
  • West Nile virus encephalomyelitis: Administer annually in the spring. A fall booster may be indicated in parts of the Southeast where mosquitoes are active year round.
  • Influenza: Horses in competition should receive vaccination against influenza at six month intervals, or as directed by your veterinarian.
  • Rhinopneumonitis: Horses in competition should receive vaccination against influenza at six month intervals, or as directed by your veterinarian.
  • Rotavirus: A rotavirus vaccine is only recommended for broodmares prior to foaling, in areas of the country where the disease has been diagnosed. Consult your veterinarian prior to administration of this vaccine.
  • Rabies: Administer annually.
  • Botulism: Administer annually. Since this disease is endemic only to the Kentucky and Ohio regions, you should consult your veterinarian prior to administration of the vaccine.
  • Strangles: Administer annually.
  • Potomac horse fever: Administer annually. However, as this disease is prevalent only in the eastern half of the United States, consult your veterinarian before administration of this vaccine.

It is important to remember that the needs of your horse may vary based on multiple factors, and that these lists are not to be considered comprehensive, or a substitute for veterinary guidance.

AQHA members receive America’s Horse magazine, packed with great tips like these, as a member benefit! Join today!