Have you vaccinated your horses this year?
The cost of vaccinations is minor compared to the expense of treating easily preventable disease. Vaccinations are an excellent investment since veterinarian care for sick horses can extend into the thousands of dollars and go on for years.
A foal’s first-year immunizations begin as a series of two to three injections (depending on the product), followed by boosters once or twice a year. Foal vaccination timing is based on maternal antibody interference.
If a mare was vaccinated late in pregnancy, the foal’s vaccinations should begin later than if the mare was vaccinated early in pregnancy. If you don’t know the mare’s vaccination status, you could assume she was both vaccinated and unvaccinated.
For almost all equine diseases, there’s a vaccine available that is simple and highly effective. The expression prevention is better than a cure is uttered so often these days that it is almost becoming a cliché. It is true though.
Most diseases for which key vaccines exist are relatively uncommon, except for tetanus. The risk of tetanus is very high and 90% of unvaccinated horses who contract tetanus don’t survive.
Tetanus is almost always fatal, so this is one vaccine you do not want to miss.
The incubation period is 7-21 days, and the wound has often already healed by the time symptoms show.
Vaccination against the disease is very effective and is strongly recommended.
The tetanus vaccination is commonly combined with influenza vaccination and if you follow the vaccination schedule for the combined vaccination, your horse should be protected against tetanus.
When using separate vaccines, the tetanus vaccination schedule is:
• Primary course two injections 4-6 weeks apart
• First booster within 12 months of the second primary injection
• Subsequent boosters only needed every 2 years
The risk of these diseases occurring isn’t worth not vaccinating your horse. If you consider losing just one special horse you value and love, the justification for vaccination is very strong.