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Which Vaccinations Does Your Horse Really Need
 By Winniefield Park   •   17th May 2014   •   2,333 views   •   0 comments
Which Vaccinations Does Your Horse Really Need

Spring is when many horse owners call their veterinarians and arrange to have their horses vaccinated. There are a handful of vaccines for various diseases in North America, but your horse really doesn’t need all of them, and it wouldn’t be advisable to give a horse all of them.

The Core Vaccines
For a long time, there have been three vaccines that every horse, pony and equine relative should have. The AVMA states that the core vaccines are those “that protect from diseases that are endemic to a region, those with potential public health significance, required by law, virulent/highly infectious, and/or those posing a risk of severe disease.” These three core vaccines are:

● Rabies
● Tetanus
● Eastern and Western Equine Encephalomyelitis

More recently, one more vaccination has been added to the list of core vaccines:

● West Nile Virus

These are regarded as core vaccines because there is a significant risk that a horse or person could get them, and the benefit of the vaccine outweighs the possible risk of any side effects that could occur. Wherever you live in North America, your horse should be protected by these basic vaccinations.

Related: 10 Diseases You Can Catch From Your Horse
Related: 2014 EHV-1 Symptoms and Outbreak Locations
Related: Six Horses in Tennessee Quarantined After Testing Positive for Equine Infectious Anemia
Related: Horse in Texas Team Roping Competition Tested Positive for Rabies

However, depending on where you live, there are other vaccinations you may want to consider. And if you live elsewhere but North America, there will be some vaccinations you may not need. For example, in Britain, your horse won’t need a rabies vaccination. So when choosing vaccinations beyond the recommended core, you’ll want to consider what diseases your horse will most likely be exposed to. This is called Risk-Based Vaccination. Here’s a look at vaccinations that are available, and may be advisable depending on where you live.

Potomac Horse Fever
PHF is only prevalent in certain areas of North America and of all the strange things, is passed onto horses when they ingest a type of snail. There is a vaccination for PHF, but it’s not 100% effective.

Equine Herpesvirus
EHV has made headlines and if you’re traveling with your horse, you may wish to have it vaccinated for protection. There are actually several forms of EHV, all with slightly different effects.

Equine Viral Arteritis or EVA
Owners of breeding stock will want to protect their horses from EVA. With diligent vaccination programs and attention, this disease could be eradicated.

EI, Equine Influenza or Flu in Horses
Equine Flu is like human flu, in that it’s easily passed along. Vaccination and good stable hygiene are the best way to control the viruses responsible for EI.

Botulism
Botulism is very rare, but it can occur if a horse eats a feed source that the bacteria thrive in. If your horse is eating silage or ensilage, you may want to consider vaccinating for botulism.

Anthrax
Even people who don’t have livestock have heard of anthrax poisoning. Livestock don’t receive packets of white powder in the mail, however. They incidentally ingest a bit of soil with the bacteria in it. Some years are worse for anthrax than others, and some areas are more prone. A vaccination can help protect your horse.

So, which vaccinations should you choose? That's a decision you can make with information from your veterinarian. Based on the types of disease, bacteria and viruses that are prevalent in your area, you can make an informed choices for your horse.
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