By Jacquelin Boggs, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, Zoetis senior equine technical services veterinarian
Save do-it-yourself projects for crafting and home remodeling. When it comes to administering your horse’s vaccinations to protect against grave equine diseases, there is no room for error.
Recent reports from the American Association of Equine Practitioners suggest that about 50% of horse owners and trainers administer their horse’s vaccinations themselves. The leading reason for self-administration of the vaccines was cost.
It’s critical that horse owners understand the cost of inaccurately administering vaccinations could be their equine partner’s health and welfare. Improper vaccine administration can leave horses exposed to potentially deadly diseases, including core equine diseases such as rabies—which is always fatal.
There are several benefits for your horse when you have a veterinarian administer vaccines, including:
- Proper vaccine handling—Vaccines have special handling and storage requirements. Your veterinarian will be familiar with proper storage, handling, and expiration dates to best preserve a vaccine’s effectiveness.
- Safe and accurate administration—Safe vaccine administration requires a clean environment and injection site. This is crucial because, without both, you could introduce harmful pathogens int your horse’s body rather than protect against them.
- Tailored vaccination program—Every horse is unique. Your veterinarian can work with you to customize a vaccine program based on your horse’s geography, age, reproductive status, and level of exposure from comingling and travel.
Ensure your horse is protected through annual vaccination against the five core equine diseases—Eastern and Western, equine encephalomyelitis, rabies, tetanus, and West Nile virus. Discuss with your veterinarian whether your horse might benefit from additional risk-based vaccines, such as those that protect against equine influenza or equine herpesvirus.