Vaccinating Your Horse
Why should my horse be vaccinated?
Protect against life threatening diseases such as tetanus
Protect against diseases that can severely affect its health and performance, such as equine influenza (flu) and herpes virus infection.
Vaccination is the only proven method of protecting against these diseases: there is no specific cure for them and treatment may be not only unsuccessful but extremely expensive.
To get rid of any infectious disease from a population there must be 70-80% of the population vaccinated. Only approximately 35% of the UK horse population is vaccinated against flu!
What should my horse be vaccinated against?
The most common diseases to vaccinate against are tetanus and equine influenza.
Other vaccines exist for Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) and Streptococcus Equi (Strangles) and rotavirus.
When should my horse be vaccinated?
Flu- A course of 2 vaccines 21-92 days apart, followed by a booster at 150-12 days then yearly boosters. 1st vaccination can be from 6 months old.
Tetanus – A course of 2 vaccines 4-6 weeks apart, followed by a booster at 1 year then a booster every 2 years. This can be combined with the flu vaccines.
EHV – A course of 2 boosters 4-6 weeks apart then 6 monthly boosters for protection against the respiratory form of the disease. To protect against EHV abortion the mare is given 3 vaccines at the 5th, 7th and 9th month of pregnancy.
Rotavirus – Given to the mare at 8, 9 and 10 months of pregnancy to prevent rotavirus infection in foals.
Strangles – A course of 2 vaccinations given 4 weeks apart from 4 months of age. A booster is then given every 6 months, or 3 months in high risk horses (i.e. thoses out competing regularly and in contact with other horses)
Many competitions require proof of flu vaccination. It is a sensible precaution to vaccinate before exposing your horse or pony to any situation where it will mix with large numbers of horses from different environments. Also, the introduction of a new horse to your stable could present a potential for exposure to infection.
Does my horse need rest after vaccination?
The older style vaccines caused more reaction and it was recommended that horses had a few days off work following vaccination. With the modern vaccines, ideally your horse should not be worked on the day of vaccination.
I have heard vaccines can cause side effects: is this true?
Some horse can react to vaccines with localized pain and swelling in the injection site, general malaise or a more generalized allergic reaction.
Thankfully these reactions do not occur commonly and the benefit of vaccination far outweighs the risk.
If you are worried that your animal has suffered an allergic reaction then please do not hesitate to contact us.
The Manufacturers recommendations for vaccination schedule are set out below as a guide. Please be aware that the requirements of individual sports governing bodies etc may vary and you should seek further clarification.
Flu / Tetanus First Dose
- 2nd DOSE: 4 – 6 weeks after 1st dose
- 3rd DOSE: 150-215 days (5 – 7 months)
- Annual booster not more that 365 days and thereafter every 2 years
Tetanus First Dose
- 2nd Dose 4 – 6 weeks after 1st dose
- Booster 1 year after 2nd dose
We endeavour to send reminders to our clients to alert them when vaccinations are due. This is a courtesy service and we cannot guarantee that clients will receive reminders at all times. We would like to remind clients that arranging appropriate healthcare appointments for their animals is their responsibility.
We advise our clients to have their horses teeth checked on an annual basis and combining it with the annual vaccinations often works well.