Keeping up with your horse’s regularly scheduled vaccines is one of the best ways to protect it against viruses or diseases that are common to a specific geographic region, could present a public health risk, or are mandated by law.
With all the different types of vaccines for horses, it can be quite difficult to know which vaccine should be administered to your horse and when. However, your horse should been given the following vaccines:
5 Diseases You Must Vaccinate Your Horse Against
1. Potomac Horse Fever
Potomac Horse Fever is caused by the Neorickettsia risticii bacteria. Potomac Horse Fever can strike between late spring and early fall. Fever, mild to severe diarrhea, laminitis, mild colic, and decreased abdominal sounds are signs your horse might be suffering from Potomac Horse Fever.
When should a horse be vaccinated against Potomac Horse Fever?
Typically, vaccinations should be given in late spring or early fall.
Previously vaccinated: Revaccinate at 6- to 12-month intervals. In endemic areas, 3 to 4 months.
Unvaccinated: Administer a primary series of 2 doses, at a 3- to 4-week interval.
Pregnant Mares: Previously vaccinated against PHF: Vaccinate semi-annually to annually. Schedule 1 dose to be administered 4 to 6 weeks before foaling.
Unvaccinated: Administer a primary series of 2 doses, at a 3- to 4-week interval. Schedule so that the 2nd dose is administered 4 to 6 weeks before foaling.
Foals: Primary immunization for most foals can begin after 5 months of age. Thereafter, a 2-dose series should be administered at a 3 to 4 week interval. A third dose at 12 months of age is recommended.
Naturally infected and recovered horses: Administer a primary series (as described above) or booster vaccine (if previously vaccinated) 12 months following recovery from natural infection.
To protect your horse against Potomac Horse Fever, we suggest the following vaccine: Equine Potomavac
2. Eastern/Western Equine Encephalomyelitis
Eastern/Western Equine Encephalomyelitis – Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE) is generally found in the eastern, southeastern and some southern states in the United States (US). Western Equine Encephalomyelitis (WEE) is typically found in the western and mid-western states. EEE and WEE is transmitted to horses through mosquitoes or other blood-sucking insects. EEE has the highest incidence of equine mortality; while WEE has the lowest equine mortality rate.*
When should a horse be vaccinated against EEE and WEE?
Previously Vaccinated: vaccinations should be given at 4- to 6- month intervals.
Previously Unvaccinated: a primary series of two doses with a 4- to 6- week interval; revaccinate before the start of the next mosquito season and every year after that.
Previously Vaccinated: administer 4- to 6- weeks prior to foaling
Unvaccinated: start a 2-dose primary series with a 4-week interval between doses right away. Administer a booster 4- to 6-weeks prior to foaling or before the start of the next vector season (whichever comes first)
Foals of Mares Vaccinated in the Pre-Partum Period: administer a primary 3-dose series starting at 4- to 6-months of age with a 4- to 6-week between the first and second dose. Give the third dose at 10- to 12- months of age before the start of the next mosquito season.
Foals of Mares Not-vaccinated or with no known history of vaccination: begin a primary series of 3 doses within a 4-week interval between the first and second dose. There should be an 8-week interval between the second and third dose. If the series is started during the mosquito vector season, it is preferred to give the second and third doses at a 3- to 4-week interval.
Naturally infected and recovered horses: Horses that have recovered on their own usually develop lifelong immunity. If your horse’s immunity status changes and it becomes susceptible to infection, you should seriously consider re-vaccination.
To vaccinate your horse against the EEE and WEE virus, we suggest the following vaccines: Equiloid Innovator, Fluvac Innovator 4, or Prestige V+ WNV
3. West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus – transmitted by mosquitoes this deadly virus that causes arbovirus encephalitis in horses. West Nile Virus is widespread throughout the entire United States.
When should a horse be vaccinated against West Nile Virus?
Previously Vaccinated: prior to the start of the insect vector season.
Unvaccinated: Based on the actual vaccine being used, a primary series of 2 doses is given to adolescent horses with a 4- to 6-week interval between doses is recommended. Annual revaccination is recommended.
Previously Vaccinated: Typically, four to six weeks prior to foaling.
Unvaccinated: A primary vaccination series should be implemented immediately.
Foals of vaccinated mares: Depending on the type of vaccine used, the administration of a primary 3-dose series starting at 4 to 6 months of age is recommended with a 4- to 6-week interval between the first and second dose. The third dose needs to be given at 10 to 12 months of age.
Foals of unvaccinated mares: At 3 to 4 months of age, a primary series of vaccinations should be given with a 4-week interval between the first and second dose, and an 8-week interval between the second and third dose. This recommended dosage is based on the type of vaccine being administered.
Naturally infected and recovered horses: Most recovered horses might develop a life-long immunity. Revaccination is recommended if the horse’s immune status has changed or if advised by a veterinarian.
Protect horses against the West Nile Virus with one the following vaccines: Prestige V+ WNV, Recombitek rWNV EWT, Recombitek West Nile Vaccine , West Nile Innovator + EWT, West Nile Innovator +VEWT, or West Nile Innovator
Rabies – Horses can be infected with rabies if bitten by a rabid bat, fox, raccoon or skunk. Typically, the bites occur on the horse’s face, muzzle or lower limbs. Once infected with the rabies virus a horse can develop fatal encephalitis in a short period of time.
When should a horse be vaccinated against rabies?
Previously Vaccinated: annually
Previously Unvaccinated: administer a single primary dose, and revaccinate annually
Previously Vaccinated: Vaccinate 4- to 6- weeks prior to foaling
Unvaccinated: Administer 4- to 6-weeks prior to foaling
Foals of Mares Vaccinated: vaccinate a primary 2 dose series. Administer the first dose at six months of age (no earlier). Provide the second dose 4- to 6-weeks later. After that revaccinate yearly.
Foals of Mares Not Vaccinated: The first dose should be give at 3- to 4-months of age. Annually thereafter.
Horses exposed to a rabid animal:
Vaccinated horses: revaccinate immediately. Place your horse under observation by a licensed veterinarian for 45 days for development of clinical signs of rabies.
Unvaccinated horses: contact public health officials immediately.
To vaccinate your horse against rabies, we suggest the following vaccine: Rabvac-3
Tetanus – Horses are at great risk of contracting tetanus – an often fatal disease. A horse can easily get tetanus through an open wound, a puncture wound, a surgical incision, a foal’s navel, or a postpartum mare’s reproductive tract that has been infected by the Clostridium tetani bacteria.
When should a horse be vaccinated against Tetanus?
Previously Vaccinated: vaccinate on an annual basis. Your horse should be revaccinated immediately after suffering a wound or surgery if the wound or surgery occurs 6 or more months after their previous tetanus booster.
Unvaccinated: provide a primary 2-dose series of tetanus toxoid at a 4- to 6- week interval between doses. After that vaccinate yearly.
Previously vaccinated: Yearly vaccinations 4- to 6-weeks prior to foaling is recommended.
Unvaccinated: Give a 2-dose primary series with a 4- to 6- week interval between doses. Four to six weeks prior to foaling revaccinate.
Foals of vaccinated mares in the pre-partum stage: administer a primary 3-dose series starting at 4- to 6- months of age with a 4- to 6-week interval between the first and second dose. Give the third dose at 10 to 12 months of age.
Foals of unvaccinated mares: Start with a primary 3-dose series at 3 to 4 months of age. Wait 4 to 6 weeks before administering the second dose. The third dose needs to given at 10 to 12 months of age.
Naturally infected and recovered horses: Annual vaccination is recommended.
To protect your horse against tetanus, we suggest the following vaccine: Tetanus Toxiod
Please consult with your veterinarian before vaccinating your horse.
For a comprehensive list of vaccines for horses, please download our free Equine Vaccine Chart
Need to buy horse vaccines online? Please click on horse vaccines.
*Source: American Association of Equine Practitioners http://www.aaep.org/info/core-vaccination-guidelines Accessed on 9/8/16.