A vaccine is an injection that stimulates an immune response against a specific infection. They are prepared by growing the infecting virus or bacteria in the laboratory and extracting the essential surface components which stimulate an immune response in the horse. Vaccines therefore do not contain living material and can never cause the infection they are administered to combat.
A vaccination programme will ensure that your horse has maximum protection against the infections in the UK which can cause serious (and sometimes fatal) diseases. Vaccinations are also recorded in your horse's passport.
Should I Vaccinate?
There are a variety of vaccinations available for horses in the UK. We would always recommend tetanus cover as an absolute minimum. Vaccinations against flu are highly advisable for the majority or horses although we can advise on individual situations and explain the likely risks.
Pregnant mares should be given a tetanus booster in the last 4-6 weeks before foaling, to ensure the foal is protected in the first 6-12 weeks of life. If the mare hasn't been vaccinated the foal can be covered with an ?antitoxin? (an antidote to the tetanus infection) in the first 24 hours of life.
Tetanus is caused by a soil-living bacterium, Clostridium Tetani, which produces a toxin that causes progressive rigid paralysis of muscle groups. Equines are particularly susceptible to tetanus.
2nd vaccination 4 to 6 weeks later
1st booster after 1 year
Subsequent boosters every 2 years
Equine vaccines are periodically changed to give protection against the strains of influenza causing outbreaks around the world. For maximum effect at least 70% of a population of horses should be vaccinated.
Horses who are competing must be 'flu vaccinated in accordance with Jockey Club Rules.
2nd vaccination 21 to 92 days later
3rd vaccination 150 to 215 days later
Annual boosters thereafter
FEI rules require 6 monthly boosters
Equine Herpes Virus
Useful for horses competing, equine herpes virus is a respiratory infection that is of particular concern around brood mares as it can cause abortion.
Pregnant mares are vaccinated at 5, 7 and 9 months of gestation.