Immunizations are the cornerstone of disease prevention if given appropriately and in a timely manner.
One of the brightest spots of equine medical care for horses is the availability of many safe and effective vaccines to protect horses from infectious and noninfectious diseases. Sometimes it is confusing as to which ones your horse might need. Let’s look at the vaccine options, the necessity of each, and how to plan for boosters throughout the year. Always keep in mind that your veterinarian is the best person to advise you on the vaccinations needed for your particular horses and your area.
Planning a Vaccination Strategy
Mary Scollay, DVM, previous chair of the Infectious Disease Committee of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), urges, “I would like to reinforce that the development of an effective vaccination program requires a partnership between the veterinarian and the horse owner. A horse owner has an obligation to provide input when a vaccination program is being developed. It is not a passive process. Examples of information that should be shared include how the horse is used, whether it travels, and what other animals is it likely to come in contact with.”
Vaccines are only one aspect of preventing disease; it is just as important to implement good horsekeeping and biosecurity strategies (see page 31 for more information) to minimize disease risk.
The AAEP developed a useful vaccination protocol that can be accessed at www.aaep.org/vaccination_guidelines.htm.