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Equine Vaccine update

Equine Vaccine update

New year, a fresh start. What better time to check our horses vaccinations and ensure they are up to date. Vaccination seems to be the word of 2021 but sometimes the information surrounding them can be overwhelming. Vaccines are important not only for preventing diseases but also for slowing disease transmission and reducing the severity of clinical signs.

Horses that compete or attend organized events require 6 monthly flu boosters. Vaccination amnesties were put in place in 2020 due to COVID 19. However, the major governing bodies have either since returned to 6 monthly boosters or are yet to announce 2021 regulations. We recommend to keep up to date with annual vaccines and when competitions return boosters can be administered if needed. Remember to always check with the organizers about their specific rules.

In the UK, horses and donkeys can be vaccinated against various diseases but the most common conditions to vaccinate for include Equine Influenza and Tetanus.  With reports of sporadic cases of equine flu in the north west area and a case of tetanus recently treated by one of our vets, here is a brief reminder of these diseases and what to look out for. 

Equine Influenza is endemic in the UK, it is a highly infectious virus that affects the respiratory system. It spreads rapidly among equine populations and can be passed on via direct contact or a contaminated environment. Equine flu can be a very debilitating disease, requiring a long recovery period and in rare cases can even be fatal.  Signs to look out for include: Fever, harsh dry cough, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and depression.

Tetanus is a dangerous and often fatal disease that can affect any horse or pony.  Clostridium tetani bacteria found in the soil can contaminate even a minor wound. The bacteria produce a toxin that causes muscle spasms, paralysis and death. Every horse or pony should be vaccinated for tetanus. 

If you are vaccinating for the first time or the vaccines are out of date, here is a reminder of the vaccine schedule: These vaccines can be administered in combination or separately.

Equine Influenza

  • 1st vaccination – Foals can start from 6 months of age
  • 2nd vaccination – 4 weeks later  (21- 92 days after the 1st)
  • 3rd vaccination – 5 months later (150 – 215 days after the 2nd)
  • Annual booster – within 365 days of the last vaccine. 

Tetanus

  • 1st vaccination – Foals can start from 6 months of age
  • 2nd  vaccination – 4 weeks after the 1st vaccination
  • 1st  booster – 12 months later
  • Subsequent boosters administered every 2 years

Other diseases that horses can be vaccinated for include Equine Herpes Virus, Equine Viral Arteritis and Rota Virus. Our Equine Care Plan’s make it easy and affordable to keep up to date with vaccinations.  Please call or send us an email if you have any questions regarding vaccinating your horse.