Basic vaccinations we recommended for backyard horses in our area:
Eastern & Western Encephalomyelitis (EEE/WEE):
Encephalomyelitis is caused by a virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. The virus causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. The vaccine is very effective against the disease. In our area we recommend vaccinating annually.
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 penetrating wounds.
Rabies is a viral disease that infects the nervous system of mammals. It is transmitted through contact with the saliva of infected animals. It is 100% fatal, and can be transmitted to humans. The vaccine is given once yearly and is very effective.
West Nile Virus (WNV):
West Nile virus is also transmitted by mosquitoes. The virus causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. Because of our mosquito season we recommend annual vaccination in the spring. Horses that travel to Florida should be boostered 2 weeks before traveling.
Additional vaccinations that may be recommended for some show horses, boarding stables and those who travel:
Rhinopneumonitis is a herpes virus which causes respiratory infections, abortions, and inflammation of the spinal cord. The vaccine is not 100% effective. We are recommending the rhinopneumonitis vaccination for horses traveling to shows, clinics, or races as this will help protect them from contacting the respiratory form of the virus from other horses. Pregnant mares should be vaccinated at 5, 7 and 9 months from the breeding date. The vaccine does not protect against the neurologic form of the disease.
Influenza is a virus that causes high fever and respiratory infection. We are recommending vaccination for horses traveling to shows, clinics, or races as this will help protect them from contacting the virus from other horses. For every day of fever, a horse suffering from influenza should have a week off of work, so this dramatically impacts the training/showing schedules of active horses.
Strangles is a bacterial disease caused by Streptococcus equi 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 (those that have frequent outbreaks) where semiannual vaccination is recommended. Vaccination is not recommended once exposure has occurred.
Ask us about specialty vaccines like Potomac Horse Fever and Botulism if you are traveling to affected areas with your horse!