Vaccines are a vital part of proper equine management. Vaccinating your horse will help protect him/her from contracting various infectious diseases. However, vaccination does not guarantee 100% protection. It serves to minimize the risk of infection, but does not prevent disease in all circumstances.
Vaccination involves the administration of the causative organism, either in the muscle or intranasal, which is inactivated or modified to avoid causing actual disease in the horse. Two or more doses are needed initially (first shots as a yearling) to initiate an adequate immune response. After this initial series, the antibodies that their body develops stand guard against invasion of specific diseases. Over time, the antibodies gradually decline. Therefore, a booster is needed at regular intervals to maintain adequate protection. Some are annual and some are more frequent depending on travel schedules, etc.
The doctors at the South Shore Equine Clinic & Diagnostic Center recommend annual vaccinations against Rabies, Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, Tetanus, and Strangles. In some instances where the incidence of disease is higher, our recommendations may change to semiannually. This is the case for Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus this year. We recommend that the vaccine against Influenza & Rhinopneumonitis be given at least twice yearly. We administer the vaccines over a series of two to three visits to the farm, so that too many vaccines do not challenge your horse’s immune system at the same time.
For horses traveling to Florida, booster vaccines are required two-four weeks prior to departure.