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Midstate Veterinary Services

Vaccination Guidelines for Horses

Disease

Previously vaccinated Horse

Horses with no vaccination history

Comments

Tetanus

Annual

2-dose initial series

-Usually in combo with EEE/WEE -Booster if there is a major wound/ injury/surgery and last booster was greater than 6 months ago

EEE/WEE  

Eastern/Western Equine Encephalomyelitis

Annual - in spring prior to onset of insect season

2-dose initial series

Consider 6 mo. revaccination for:  -  horses spend winter down south  -  immunocompromised horses

West Nile*

Annual - in spring prior to onset of insect season

2-dose initial series

Consider 6 mo. revaccination for:

- horses in highly endemic regions

- juvenile horses

- geriatric horses

- immunocompromised horses

Rabies

Annual

Annual

Zoonotic -  can be transmitted to humans

Core Vaccinations:  These are vaccinations that ALL horses should have as they are endemic to our region, can cause severe disease/death or present a public health risk.  

*West Nile is now a part of the core vaccinations that we recommend.  This is a change from some older protocols before the disease became endemic in the early 2000’s and about 1/3 of horses who contract this disease will not survive.  

Non-Core Vaccinations:   These vaccinations are given based on risk assessment due to your horse’s lifestyle and geographic regions.   Please consult your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns in regards to these.  

Disease

Recommended population

Flu/Rhino

Horses with ongoing risk of exposure to new horses

Potomac Horse Fever

Horses in pastures with or near any natural water / history on farm

Leptospirosis**

Prior history, risk of uveitis, abortion

Strangles (Strep. Equi)

Horses with ongoing risk of exposure to new horses

Pneumobort K (EHV-1)

Pregnant mares at 5,7,9 months gestation

**  Note horses with prior lepto uveitits should consult their veterinarian – there are changing recommendations for these horses.  

Warm weather is right around the corner - please remember that getting core vaccinations on board BEFORE the mosquitoes and biting insects come out optimizes their effectiveness  so give us a call to schedule today!  

- Tetanus

Tetanus is caused by a neurotoxin produced by a type of bacteria that is found in soil. Horses are exposed to tetanus through wounds. Any horse that has surgery performed or has a deep or superficial wound or hoof abscess should have a tetanus booster if their last vaccine was given over 6 months ago. 80% of horses that are infected will not survive. If horses are not regularly vaccinated for tetanus and are potentially exposed, tetanus antitoxin can be administered but carries the risk of causing a fatal liver disease called Theiler’s disease.  

- Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE) and Western Equine Encephalomyelitis (WEE)

These viruses, spread by mosquitoes, infect the brain and cause signs that can include fever, lethargy, a drunken gait, seizures, or blindness. Eastern Equine Encephalitis is almost always fatal, and horses that survive have permanent neurologic deficits. Western Equine Encephalitis causes death in up to 50% of horses that are infected. Horses that do survive often require expensive and intensive nursing care.

- West Nile Virus (WNV)

This virus, spread by mosquitoes, also infects the brain and causes neurologic signs that can include fever, lethargy, a wobbly gait, stumbling, and muscle twitches. Approximately 30% of horses that are infected will not survive, and 40% of horses that do survive will still not be normal months later. Horses that do survive often require expensive and intensive nursing care.

- Rabies

Rabies is a fatal neurologic disease that can affect animals and people. It is contracted from a bite or contact with saliva from an infected animal. There is no cure.