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Equine Vaccinations


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Vaccines are preparations of killed microorganisms, living weakened microorganisms, etc. introduced into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease by causing the formation of antibodies. Vaccines are very delicate compounds, which if handled or administered incorrectly will be ineffective or neutralized. They are generally administered initially as a two-shot series and then annually or semiannually.

Eastern & Western Encephalomyelitis: Encephalomyelitis is caused by a virus which is transmitted by mosquitos. The virus causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.  The vaccine is very effective against the disease. The protection lasts six months, therefore we recommend administrating the vaccine twice a year(semiannually).

Tetanus Toxoid: Tetanus is a disease  caused by a specific toxin of a bacillus (Clostridium tetani)which usually enters the body through wounds. It is characterized by spasmodic contractions and rigidity of some or all of the voluntary muscles (especially of the jaw, face and neck). The bacteria is found in horse manure. The vaccine is very effective and administered once yearly, and is boostered in case of  laceration, surgery, or pentrating wounds.

Rabies: Rabies is a viral disease that infects the nervous system of  mammals. It is transmitted through contact with the saliva of infected animals. It is 100% fatal. The vaccine is given once yearly.

West Nile Virus: West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitos. The virus causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Horses that travel to Florida should be boostered two weeks before traveling, and those that live in Florida should vaccinate semiannually. Veterinarians in problem areas vaccinate two to four times per year.

Rhinopneumonitis: Rhinopneumonitis is a herpes virus which causes respiratory infections, abortions, and inflammation of the spinal cord. The vaccine is not  100% effective and the protection only lasts 10-12 weeks.  Pregnant  mares should be vaccinated at 3.5, 7 and 9 months from the breeding date. Horses that are traveling to shows, races, sales, etc. should be vaccinated every 3 months. Pleasure horses that do not travel should be vaccinated twice a year. The vaccine does not protect against the neurologic form of the disease.

Influenza: Influenza is a virus that causes high fever and respiratory infection. The vaccine is not 100% effective, and the protection lasts only 10-12 weeks. Horses traveling to shows, sales, racing events, etc..should be vaccinated every 3 months. Horses that do not travel should be vaccinated at least twice a year.

Potomac Horse Fever(PHF): Potomac Horse Fever is caused by the parasite Ehrlichia risticii. Horses are infected through small land snails that carry the parasite. It is not contagious and occurs more commonly in wet areas. The disease causes high fever, laminitis, and severe diarrhea. The vaccine is fairly effective and is administered once a year. It is administered 2-4 x yearly in -problem areas.

Strangles: Strangles is a bacterial disease caused by Streptococcus equi. It is highly contagious and causes the following signs: high fever, abscessed lymph nodes,and respiratory infection. Horses may develop guttural pouch infections, sinus infections, purpura hemorrhagica, laryngeal paralysis, and bastard strangles. There is an intranasal vaccine which is more effective than the intramuscular vaccine. The vaccine is given once a year except in endemic barns( that have frequent outbreaks) where semiannual vaccination is recommended.
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