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Vaccines are products introduced into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease by causing the formation of antibodies. What is important to remember, is that the vaccine will not prevent the disease agent from entering your animal, they are intended to minimize or eliminate the agent from causing clinical signs. Some vaccines are very good at this, and others frankly or not, but they sometimes are the best we have. Flu and Rhino are vaccines that are examples of this in that they need to be boosted frequently.
Vaccines are very delicate compounds, which if handled or administered incorrectly will be ineffective or neutralized.
Vaccines are administered initially as a series and then annually or semiannually. Animals are not considered to be protected for variable periods of time after the vaccine is administered.
The vaccines and vaccine protocols listed below are tailored to our practice and geographic location and follow the guidelines of the AAEP.
Eastern & Western Encephalomyelitis: Encephalomyelitis is caused by a virus, which is transmitted by mosquitos. The virus causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. The vaccine is very effective against the disease. The protection lasts 6 months, therefore we recommend administrating the vaccine twice a year(semiannually).
Tetanus Toxoid: Tetanus is a disease caused by a specific toxin of a bacillus (Clostridium tetani)which usually enters the body through wounds. It is characterized by spasmodic contractions and rigidity of some or all of the voluntary muscles (especially of the jaw, face and neck). The bacteria is found in horse manure. The vaccine is very effective and administered once yearly. The vaccine is boostered in case of laceration, surgery, or pentrating wounds.
West Nile Virus: West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitos. The virus causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Because we have a long mosquito season and the vaccine protection lasts 6-7 months, we recommend semiannual vaccination for high risk horses. Horses that travel to Florida should be boostered 2 weeks before travelling. Veterinarians in problem areas vaccinate 2-4 x per year.
Rhinopneumonitis: Rhinopneumonitis is a herpes virus which causes respiratory infections, abortions, and inflammation of the spinal cord. The vaccine is not 100% effective and the protection only lasts 10-12 weeks. Pregnant mares should be vaccinated at 5, 7 and 9 months from the breeding date. Horses that are travelling to shows, races, sales, etc. should be vaccinated every 3 months. Pleasure horses that do not travel should be vaccinated twice a year. The vaccine does not protect against the neurologic form of the disease.
Influenza:Influenza is a virus that causes high fever and respiratory infection. The vaccine is not 100% effective, and the protection lasts only 10-12 weeks. Horses travelling to shows, sales, racing events, etc..should be vaccinated every 3 months. Horses that do not travel should be vaccinated at least twice a year.
Strangles:Strangles is a bacterial disease caused by Streptococcus equi. It is highly contagious and causes the following signs: high fever, abscessed lymph nodes,and respiratory infection. Horses may develop guttural pouch infections, sinus infections, purpura hemorrhagica, laryngeal paralysis, and bastard strangles. There is an intranasal vaccine which is more effective than the intramuscular vaccine. The vaccine is given once a year except in endemic barns( that have frequent outbreaks) where semiannual vaccination is recommended.