Horse Vaccinations for Spring

— Written By and last updated by Patricia Burch
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Have you remembered to vaccinate your horse this spring? Some of us may have remembered that it’s time, but still not checked the task off our list! Everyone has their own system and situation, but we all should have a list of “must dos” on our vaccine list. First and foremost, make sure you consult your horse’s veterinarian for their recommendations. Variations in a vaccination plan may be due to your horses age and exposure to other horses, and travel plans.

The “core* diseases (vaccines)”:

According to the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, the following are diseases we ALL should make sure our horses are protected from. The following recommendations are if the horse has been previously vaccinated, and is greater than one year of age.

  • Tetanus – Annual vaccination with tetanus toxoid, with a booster if a penetrating (puncture) injury occurs
  • Rabies – Annual vaccination
  • Encephalomyelitis (Eastern and Western) – EEE and WEE should be vaccinated for each spring and fall. With the mild winters we generally have (especially this year) this is critical to protection from the virus carried often by mosquitos
  • West Nile Virus – Similar to Encephalomyelitis, West Nile vaccination is also needed each spring and fall

*Core vaccines are named such because they protect against diseases that are endemic to a region, virulent or highly contagious, pose a risk of severe or fatal disease, have potential public health significance, and/or are required by law.

The next vaccines are “non-core” but risk based vaccines, meaning that they are selected based on assessment of risk performed by, or in consultation with, a licensed veterinarian, and may vary between individuals, populations, and/or geographic regions.

  • Equine Herpesvirus (EHV)
  • Equine Influenza
  • Potomac Horse Fever
  • Strangles

There are many factors which influence the right vaccination protocol for your horse. Stages of life, such as age, reproductive status, activity and exposure to other horses are all considerations. Always make sure to consult your veterinarian for the best vaccination protocol to ensure the well-being of your horse.

Information source: UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for Updated Vaccination Guidelines for Horses in No