- Vaccines are preparations of killed microorganisms, living weakened microorganisms, etc. introduced into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease by causing the formation of antibodies.
- Vaccines are very delicate compounds, which if handled or administered incorrectly will be ineffective or neutralized.
- Vaccines are administered initially as a two-three shot series and then annually or semiannually.
- The vaccines and vaccine protocols listed below are tailored to our practice and geographic location and follow the guidelines of the AAEP(American Association of Equine Practitioner).
The following three vaccines are considered "Core" for this area:
Eastern & Western Encephalomyelitis: Encephalomyelitis is caused by a virus, which is transmitted by mosquitos. The virus causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. The vaccine is very effective against the disease. Vaccination should be administered once yearly, prior to the start of vector season.
Tetanus Toxoid: Tetanus is a disease caused by a specific toxin of a bacillus (Clostridium tetani)which usually enters the body through wounds. It is characterized by spasmodic contractions and rigidity of some or all of the voluntary muscles (especially of the jaw, face and neck). Clostridium tetani organisms are present in the intestinal tract and feces of horses, other animals and humans, and are abundant as well as ubiquitous in soil. Spores of Cl. tetani survive in the environment for many years, resulting in an ever-present risk of exposure of horses and people on equine facilities.. The vaccine is very effective and administered once yearly. The vaccine is boostered in case of laceration, surgery, or pentrating wounds.
West Nile Virus: West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitos. The virus causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Horses are considered a "dead end host" for this virus. Vaccination is effective and should be completed once yearly. (For more information please see our West Nile Virus page).
*Rabies: May be considered a "core" vaccine depending on where you live. In this area, due to the low incidence of rabies vaccination is not commonly performed.
The following vaccines are considered "Risk-Based":
Rabies: Rabies is a viral disease that infects the nervous system of mammals. It is transmitted through contact with the saliva of infected animals. It is 100% fatal. The vaccine is given once yearly and is very effective. In our local geographic area, rabies is not common in wild life or domestic animals. Rabies vaccine must be administered by a veterinarian.
Rhinopneumonitis: Rhinopneumonitis is a herpes virus which causes respiratory infections, abortions, and inflammation of the spinal cord. The vaccine is not 100% effective and the protection only lasts 10-12 weeks. Pregnant mares should be vaccinated at 5, 7 and 9 months from the breeding date. Horses that are travelling to shows, races, sales, etc. should be vaccinated every 3-4 months. Pleasure horses that do not travel should be vaccinated twice a year. The vaccine does not protect against the neurologic form of the disease.
Influenza: Influenza is a virus that causes high fever and respiratory infection. The vaccine is not 100% effective, and the protection lasts only 10-12 weeks. Horses travelling to shows, sales, racing events, etc..should be vaccinated every 3 -4 months. Horses that do not travel should be vaccinated at least twice a year.
Potomac Horse Fever(PHF): Potomac Horse Fever is caused by the parasite Ehrlichia risticii. Horses are infected through small land snails that carry the parasite. It is not contagious and occurs more commonly in wet areas. The disease causes high fever, laminitis, and severe diarrhea. The vaccine is fairly effective and is administered once a year. It is administered 2-4 x yearly in -problem areas.
Strangles:Strangles is a bacterial disease caused by Streptococcus equi. It is highly contagious and causes the following signs: high fever, abscessed lymph nodes,and respiratory infection. Horses may develop guttural pouch infections, sinus infections, purpura hemorrhagica, laryngeal paralysis, and bastard strangles. There is an intranasal vaccine which is more effective than the intramuscular vaccine. The vaccine is given once a year except in endemic barns( that have frequent outbreaks) where semiannual vaccination is recommended.