Want your horse to be as healthy as possible? Just as you would have your child vaccinated against deadly diseases, you also need to have your horse vaccinated against dangerous diseases. Your veterinarian will know when and how these vaccinations should be administered. Several diseases, such as Tetanus and Influenza, which can be fatal to horses, are easily avoidable if they are vaccinated properly. The American Association of Equine Practitioners suggests four equine vaccinations that should be required for good horse health. These include vaccinations against Equine Encephalomyelitis, Tetanus, Equine Rhinopneumonitis, and Equine Influenza.
One of these vaccinations mandatory for good horse health is a vaccination against Equine Encephalomyelitis. This is a contagious disease which is given to horses by mosquitoes. It causes the horse’s spinal cord and brain to become inflamed. This inflammation results in fever, erratic behavior, stupor, and ultimately death. After an initial series of vaccinations is given, usually when the horse is only a few months old, a booster is required each year for optimal horse health.
Tetanus is another disease horses should be vaccinated against. Horses generally risk contracting tetanus after a penetrating injury. Tetanus can affect horse health by causing muscular stiffness which ultimately ends in death. The American Association of Equine Practitioners recommends that after an initial series of vaccinations, horses should be vaccinated each year. If your horse were to suffer a deep injury and had not had tetanus shot in the last 6 months, it would be advisable to have one administered.
Like humans, horses are also extremely susceptible to influenza. To keep your horse’s health at its best, it is ideal to get an influenza vaccine once or twice yearly. Since influenza is highly contagious it is especially important to vaccinate your horses prior to attending a horse show. In fact, horse shows will often be called off if there is an outbreak of equine flu. For optimal horse health, be sure to vaccinate your horses for this dangerous disease.
Another easily transmitted disease horses can be vaccinated against is Equine Rhinopneumonitits. This disease is caused by the herpes virus and generally results in fever and a respiratory infection. In mares, this virus can also cause abortions. For good horse health, you should have your horse vaccinated once or twice yearly.
Depending on the area in which you live, there are other vaccinations you may want to look into to protect horse health. Generally these vaccinations are only recommended if there is an outbreak of the disease in your area. Your veterinarian may suggest you have your horse vaccinated against Streptococcus Equi, more commonly known as the Strangles. This disease is caused by bacteria that invade the lymph nodes causing them to swell. This makes it difficult for the horse to breathe, thus giving the disease its name. Potomac Horse Fever is another vaccine your vet may recommend. Generally, this disease is only contracted by horses that live near water.
If you want your horse to be healthy and avoid possible fatal diseases, have them vaccinated frequently as recommended by your vet. Good horse health depends on how well you follow your vet’s suggestions.