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Equine Vaccines

The topic of vaccinating horses can be a complicated subject with so many options out there on the market. In this Country Critter Tails, we’ll give you a quick go-to guide to the vaccinations that are recommended in our area, especially as the weather gets warmer.

  1. Rabies: Of special note, we have had several cases of rabies locally, so it is very important to stay up-to-date. The American Association of Equine Practitioners highly recommend an annual booster because of the fatality rate of the virus and exposure to horse owners and their families.
  2. West Nile: This is a virus contracted by mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects, and it is very important to give an annual booster in the Spring prior to insect activity.
  3. Sleeping Sickness (Equine Encephalomyelitis - Eastern and Western): This is caused by a virus and initiates inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. It’s recommended that horses receive an annual booster.
  4. Tetanus: this is a disease that affects the horse’s nervous system and ability to control muscles of the jaw and neck in particular. Colorado State University recommends this vaccination to be given annually.
  5. Upper respiratory disease (influenza and rhinopneumonitis): these viruses can strike at any time of the year, so it’s important to give both twice annually if you are traveling and in contact with a lot of other horses. In the case of pregnant mares, rhinopneumonitis can cause abortion, and preventive vaccination is given prior to breeding and at months 5, 7, and 9 of the pregnancy.
  6. Rattlesnake: This vaccine is available for those horse owners who are in areas of increased contact risk. It is initially labeled as a vaccine that is initially given three times and then boosted twice a year per label instructions.
  7. Strangles: If you are in a high risk situation (such as boarding and traveling), your veterinarian may highly recommend this preventative vaccine. As an owner, it’s very important to make sure your horse or horse herd is up to date on essential vaccinations in order to maintain optimal health and prevent any issues in the future. If any questions arise, if you would like to pick up your horse’s annual booster, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact your local veterinarian!








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