Friday, March 15, 2013


Everyone want to share what vaccines they give and why?  I would really appreciate any real life experience and any legit information on the web about vaccines, reactions/triggers/laminitis, titers, etc.  So far the only thing I've given Chrome is Influenza, Eastern/Western and Tetanus.  There have been quite a few cases of rabies in skunks in the area, so any info on that would be greatly appreciated.  Is the rabies vaccine safe?  Are they really needed?  How likely is it that a horse will be bit by a skunk?  I'm asking these questions honestly, because I don't know.  I'm not being sarcastic or rhetorical. 

Also do horses really need annual boosters?  I don't give my dogs annual boosters because I've done the research and they don't need them any more than we need annual boosters (obviously some vaccines need boosters like for kennel cough, but I don't board so I don't get them).  After I complete the puppy series of vaccines the only thing I give is rabies and that's only because it's required by law... I don't even give Storm a rabies because she is getting older (almost twelve) and I don't want to risk a reaction.  She's never outdoors without my supervision so she's low risk for getting rabies. 

So as you can see I've done all the research on dog vaccines, but for some reason I know very little about horse vaccines.  I want to change that, but I don't even know where to begin researching lol.  Thanks guys!


  1. Funny you posted this because the vet is coming tomorrow for spring shots. Unfortunately, I board and I travel with Shy, so I am required to give more vaccinations that I prefer. A Coggins must be pulled because we travel interstate and show. Shy gets the Tetnus, EEE, WEE, influenza, and rhino (I think that's all in one shot). Then she gets West Nile. And Potomac Horse Fever. And rabies. And the intranasal Strangles. I actually shudder because it is so much, but those are all the required vaccinations for boarding here. Since yours are at home, I would not do strangles and probably not Potomac. I am interested to hear others thoughts on this!

  2. Thanks for answering so quickly Allison. Wow, that's a lot they vaccinate for at your barn. Do they give them all at once? Poor Shy! I plan to take Chrome for lessons at a local dressage barn eventually.... so do I need to ask them what they vaccinate for?

  3. I firmly believe in keeping up with annuals, but don't do more than that. Our neighbor vaccinates two times a year and it just isn't necessary. Since our horses do interact with others and are occasionally stabled at public facilities. Three of my horses get 5-way (Tetanus toxoid, EEE, WEE, influenze, rhinopneumonitis) and my mare who severely foundered in her younger days gets a 4-way - our vet advised the rhino can cause a relapse. We also do West Nile, we are in a high alert area for it. We don't have a rabies worry were we are, so don't worry about it. I would ask your vet what they recommend for your area. ...and a once a year vaccination is highly recommended. :D


  4. Well, five vaccinations are in one shot, so I think there are only 3 pokes, plus the coggins. Asking then would be a good idea, I am pretty sure they would want a coggins at least.

  5. Yep, we have to do coggins every year even if we don't go anywhere. Pretty sure it's the law.

    I'll ask my vet what they suggest, but vets have a tendency to require more than is necessary because the vaccine companies push them... I worked at a small animal vet clinic so I saw that a lot with dogs. The research I did on dogs says that vaccines are active in dogs way longer than one year which is why they suggest doing titers. If the vaccine is doing it's job after a year then it's a waste of money and unneeded stress on the dog to repeat it. Can vets do titers on horses?

  6. When I'm not boarding/training/showingand my horses are just at home, all I give is tetnus as per my vet's recommendations. I live in an area that is low risk for basically everything except tetnus. Now that I am going to be trailering out for lessons and POSSIBLY shows, I will give all of the vaccines required for showing purposes. Nothing else though! Also, I don't use chemical de-wormers more than once or twice a year. I use diatomacious (I know I butchered the spelling) earth and have had negative fecals for 2 years just adding the appropriate amount to the grain daily. I am very anti-chemicals in my animals! We learned about DE because I didn't want to "deworm" myself while drinking and using our goat milk and DE was the best option for safe deworming!

  7. The AAEP does recommend rabies, so I have Salem get that once a year. Remember, they can get rabies from all kinds of wildlife, so it's best just to have them vaccinated. I think rats can carry rabies, yes?

    I also do the West Nile since that is so prevalent, and we have a TON of Mosquitos here in the summer. And then of course EEE, WEEE, and I think maybe VEE, plus rhinovirus (EHV-1, I would definitely get this vaccine since there is currently a country-wide outbreak if this going on right now). I don't remember if we di the strangles vaccine??? I'll have to check with my vet. And once they come up with an equine leptosperosis vaccine, I will definitely be giving that--lepto is carries by rats, deer, etc. and horses can catch it from an infected animal's urine or feces, and it's a horrible disease. It can cause blindness, kidney failure, and death. Definitely not something to mess around with!

    If you're concerned with reactions/laminitis, I would just spread the va ccines apart, give one or two a week until you're done. I believe you can give a little preemptive bute before the vaccines to minimize swelling/reaction.

    I really would talk to your vet about what s/he recommends

  8. Yes, vets can do titers on horses. I remember last summer when horses at my old barn were having a lyme scare and the vet drew blood to test for titers.

  9. I would imagine the vets would do titers on horses like they do for dogs, but not sure what it might cost. I was told it was expensive when I was asking about it for my dog a few years ago.

    I do rabies, tetanus, west nile and the EEE/WEE ones for sure. Will also do a coggins this year since we are hoping to show. Strangles is sometimes done by people, kind of depends. Some people do Potomac as well. Some people vets here do a wellness package with 2 calls, dewormer and vaccines all built into one price. A checkup and half the vaccines in the spring and then the other half at another visit in the fall...

    A friend's horse had a bad reaction to a vaccine last year, but I can't for the life of me remember which one...

    Phew! Long comment... lol

  10. I do a 5 way plus rabies, West Nile, Potomac, rabies and strangles. Strangles isnt needed if they arent in contact with lots of strange horses but if you do it, always get intranasal. Potomac is a problem anywhere it can be wet and swampy with mayflies and west nile is a mosquito issue. I see it more in the mindset it is easier to pay for a vaccine than a treatment. Just my opinion though, I know lots of people that dont loike to vaccinate with good and bad results.
    I havent have issues with reactions as long as the vaccines are stored properly. Give them in opposite sides of the neck so you will know what they react to if they do. Good luck

  11. I give a 5 way every year, tet, eee/wee rhino and flu. I havnt given west nile in a few years, we are not on a high incidence area. We dont give rabies here in SW Washington, unless there was a severe outbreak. I have mine at home and dont give strangles, unless of course there is an outbreak, and I am hauling somewhere. People just have to remember that you need the vaccines at least 2 weeks before you are going somewhere, so that the horses system has time to build immunity. So far we dont have to do Coggins and such to travel between Wa. and Oregon. But to go to any other state it is required.

  12. Here in NJ the rabies vaccine is required by law, so we give that one once a year. They get the EEE/WEE, tetanus, infulenza/Rhino and West Nile vaccine twice a year. We live in a major mosquito area and Spider shows all over, so I want them well protected. We've had several cases of West Nile in horses that were only receiving the vaccine once per year around here. Only Spider gets a Coggins test, since he's the only one who travels. If he gets tests positive, the other two will likely have it anyway, since they all live together...

    I always mean to ask about the titers, but then forget. Maybe I'll remember this time when the vet comes for spring shots ;)

    I've thought about

  13. I believe in vaccinations. I've never had a horse react. I do West Nile, EEE, flu, rhino, EHV-1, tetanus and strangles.
    There hasn't been rabies so I can't remember if that's part of it too. But I can see how a horse could get bitten by a rabid animal. The animal will act strange and nosy horses come to investigate and get bit.
    i give the strangles myself a week or so after the needles. That reduces the risk of infection of the injection site. I do the WN and EEE boosters myself in the fall.

  14. Just wanted to add that the Fort Dodge brand of vaccines seem to have a higher incidence of reactions. From what I've read, it's some kind of carrier agent or something that they use in their vaccines. A bunch of people have had problems, just FYI.

  15. Thanks for the warning on Fort Dodge... that sounds familiar. I'll ask about that before I get any.

    So do any of you guys give vaccines yourself? If you want to split them all up do you have to go to the vet each time or do you inject it yourself? Also how long do you wait if you decide to split them up? Two weeks? He's had the four way with no problem, but I don't want to do a four way, rabies, West Nile, etc. all in one day if I can help it. I don't want him to get sick from anything preventable, but I also don't want a vaccine to cause laminitis... that's scary to me...

    I'm going to call my vet (or several vets) on Monday to ask about recommendations, but I do appreciate all of the feedback. :D

  16. Teresa, they have a vaccine for EHV-1? How effective is it? I don't know if it's in my area... I'll have to look it up.

  17. Science teacher with a brief science lesson here:

    Vaccinations are one of the most important advancements of modern medicine. Several serious human diseases, such as polio and small pox, have been reduced to very low incidence due to regular vaccinations of the human population. Those who are not vaccinated enjoy "herd immunity". If too many people (and children) are not vaccinated, herd immunity fails and the entire population is at a greater risk for disease.

    Some viruses are less stable and mutate frequently, such as the influenza virus. This is why individuals must be vaccinated annually for the flu in order to remain immune (the immune system is trained to recognize the virus by "learning" from the dead or weakened virus in the vaccine). Unstable viruses, such as the flu, are also more likely to jump from one host species to another, such as the bird flu infecting humans. More stable viruses only require a schedule of boosters in childhood for lifelong immunity. Some vaccines also exist for bacterial infections (strangles in horses is a bacterial infection).

    Rabies is caused by a very dangerous virus. The virus is dangerous because it can infect all mammals. That is an extremely broad host spectrum. Treatment exists for rabies, but if the disease is too advanced it is fatal. Pet owners are often given treatment for rabies if a pet contracts the virus.

    It makes sense to vaccinate against rabies and tetanus (which is prevalent on farms) as a minimum regiment. Research other risks for infection in your area (such as mosquito-carried diseases) and vaccinate accordingly. Coggins is a blood test, not a vaccine, and a negative test is required for interstate travel of horses.

    My horse is boarded, so he receives the standard regiment of vaccines for NJ in the spring and summer. His blood is also pulled for Coggins every spring.

  18. Val, I know Coggins isn't a vaccine, that's why I didn't mention it in the original post. I mentioned it in the comments because other people did lol!

    All of the other information is extremely helpful though! You explained that waaaaaaay better than anyone has ever explained it to me. :D I will definitely get the rabies. I didn't even know people vaccinated horses for rabies until recently.... I guess it's not commonly done around here. No vet has ever mentioned it to me.

    So how do you tell the difference between stable and unstable viruses? From what I read about dogs, most all of their vaccines are stable and only need to be done as puppies like we only have to be done as kids for polio, etc. I don't know about horse vaccines though. I know the Influenza is unstable just like ours is. What about Rhino and EEE/WEEE? Are they considered stable? I just want to know which ones need to be done once (with a three week follow up booster) and which ones need to be done yearly.... it isn't always what the vet's say it is. Anyway I'm rambling and probably being very confusing (confusing myself anyway), so I'll leave it at that. Thank you for all of the information. I appreciate it and really like the way you explained it. :)


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