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Vaccinations

Vaccination is an important part of responsible horse ownership. Here is a brief overview of vaccine types and their uses.

Tetanus

Protection against kennel cough requires a separate vaccine from your pets’ annual booster. This is an intranasal vaccine which provides immunity from 72 hours after administration and which lasts for 12 months.

Arguably the most important of vaccines since tetanus is more often than not fatal, but easily preventable. Anyone who has seen a horse suffering with tetanus (lockjaw) can tell you what a truly horrific disease it really is, and it is easily preventable.

Since the bacterium causing tetanus (Clostridium tetani) lives in the soil, an unvaccinated horse is at risk anywhere, even if it is not in contact with any other animals. A small cut or break in the skin can be enough for the bacteria to enter the system and rapidly cause extreme muscle spasms, pain and death.

Tetanus can be vaccinated against individually, but usually vaccination is combined with :-

Influenza

Equine influenza (‘flu) is a highly contagious viral disease resulting in coughing, fever, nasal discharge, lethargy and inappetance. Livery yards and competitions/ shows often require full vaccination status with an up-to-date passport.

Vaccination protocol

Begin vaccination course from 5 months of age

Initial course – 2 injections of flu & tetanus 21-90 days apart (usually 4 weeks)

3rd injection – Flu and tetanus 150-215 days after 2nd injection (usually 6 months)

Annual booster – no more than 365 after previous injection. First annual booster for just Flu, thereafter Flu and Tetanus and Flu on alternate years

This protocol complies with the Jockey Club rules for equine influenza. However some competition bodies require flu boosters every 6 months. We advise that you contact them yourself to receive up-to-date requirements for your particular sport.

Mares and Foals – Flu and tetanus vaccine is licensed for use as a booster during the second and third trimester of pregnancy. To give the foal the best protection in the first few months of life we recommend boosting the mare in the last 3 months of pregnancy.

Equine Herpes Virus

Herpes virus can cause 3 main syndromes in horses:

  1. abortions in mares
  2. upper respiratory tract infections
  3. neurological disease (including paralysis)


This virus can be responsible for dramatic abortion storms at studs or stillborn/weak foals. We recommend vaccinating pregnant mares at 5,7 and 9 months.