Horse Health

Equine Vaccination Schedule

March 1, 2012

Beat mosquito season and keep your horse’s vaccinations up to date.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Pfizer

Journal photo.

Spring Shots

Keep your equine vaccinations schedule current with a vaccine booster before mosquitoes can have their say.

In many regions of the United States, the winter of 2012 has been unseasonably warm. Signs of spring are everywhere, from horses starting to shed their winter coats to daffodils beginning to sprout. Warmer temperatures also mean that mosquitoes will be back before we know it. Therefore, now is the time to talk with your veterinarian about what vaccines your horse may need before the mosquito season hits.

According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners vaccination guidelines, core vaccinations are those “that protect from diseases that are endemic to a region, those with potential public health significance, virulent/highly infectious, and/or those posing a risk of severe disease.” Every horse should be vaccinated against the core diseases, which include West Nile virus, eastern and western equine encephalomyelitis, tetanus and rabies.

All of these core diseases require revaccination annually. It is especially important to vaccinate against West Nile and eastern and western equine encephalomyelitis in the spring, before mosquitoes rear their ugly heads.

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According to the U.S Geological Survey, in 2011, there were 115 equine cases of West Nile reported in 29 states from the north, south, east and west regions of the United States. Also reported were 65 cases of eastern equine encephalomyelitis and one case of western equine encephalomyelitis2. Fortunately, due to annual horse vaccinations, the number of West Nile cases has decreased over the last decade. Widespread vaccination for West Nile virus began in 2002 with Pfizer Animal Health’s WEST NILE-INNOVATOR® vaccine. “It’s very important that all horses are properly vaccinated at least annually by a veterinarian with the core vaccines. Risk-based vaccines should be administered based on the individual horse’s risk and lifestyle,” says Dr. Tom Lenz, senior director of equine veterinary services for Pfizer Animal Health. “Every year, we continue to see mosquito-borne diseases in areas across the country. Horse owners should help protect their horses now by getting their spring shots.”

Pfizer Animal Health offers a trusted line of vaccines, including WEST NILE-INNOVATOR to help protect against West Nile virus. In addition, the Mosquito Shot ™ (WEST NILE-INNOVATOR® + EWT) helps protect against eastern and western equine encephalomyelitis, West Nile and tetanus in a single vaccine. These products and combinations are included in the Equine Immunization Support Guarantee (ISG).

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Pfizer Animal Health’s Equine Immunization Support Guarantee provides up to $5,000 for reasonable diagnostic and treatment costs if a horse properly vaccinated by a veterinarian contracts the corresponding equine disease. Disease protection backed by the Equine Immunization Support Guarantee includes infection from West Nile virus, equine influenza virus, tetanus, eastern equine encephalomyelitis, western equine encephalomyelitis and Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis. Vaccinations must be performed by a licensed veterinarian with an established client-patient relationship to be eligible.

Vaccinations offer the best protection in any preventative health care program. Any questions about your equine vaccination schedule should be discussed with a veterinarian.