Equine Vaccine Tips and Strategies

One of the most important things you can do to maintain health is have your animal vaccinated.
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If you own a horse, one of the most important things you can do to maintain health is have your animal vaccinated. Everyone seems to have a strategy or recommendation, but the real question is: What is right for your horse? That depends on many factors including location, exposure to other horses, and general risk factors. Let’s explore the options.

When evaluating vaccines and establishing a protocol, remember that each horse is an individual and that no one perfect protocol exists. It is generally not necessary to implement the same protocol in every horse just because they are in the same barn. Here are the main points to consider when establishing a vaccine protocol:

  • Risk factors associated with the particular horse (including his housing situation, exposure to other horses, environment, age, and geographic location);
  • The potential impact of the disease being targeted, including mortality/morbidity rate and risk of spread to other animals and species (including humans);
  • Possible negative side effects of vaccine; and
  • Cost implications to the owner.

Some basic considerations that we always need to remember include:

  • No vaccine is 100% effective in preventing disease. Rather, vaccines are designed or intended to reduce morbidity or clinical signs of disease.
  • No vaccines is 100% risk-free.
  • Vaccines are not generally protective until 10 days or more following administration.
  • Most vaccines require an initial booster series to build an antibody titer and establish protection.
  • Many vaccines come combined with many antigens

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