How often to Vaccinate?

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How often to Vaccinate?

Post by Sunny Admin on Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:20 pm

Dear Dr. Pike:



Besides the usual 5-way vaccines, and so forth, is it really good to give the Rabies and West Nile vaccines every year?
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Re: How often to Vaccinate?

Post by Dr. Daniel Pike on Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:24 pm

Good Question! Vaccination is the single best way to prevent tragic conditions in our equines. According to AAEP, there are 4 primary vaccines included int he core vaccination schedule.
These include:
1. EEE/WEE - (Equine Encephalitis/EW) - 2 dose initial dose, Annual booster, semi-annual booster in endemic area.
2. Tetanus - 2 dose initial doese, annual booster (This vaccination is usually combined with the EEE/WEE.
3. West Nile Virus - 2 dose initial, annual booster (Semi-annual booster in endemic area).
4. Rabies - 1 dose initial, annual booster.

To answer your question, yes I think it is very important to add West Nile and Rabies to your vaccination program. These are two diseases that are relatively commonly found in un-vaccinated equines. If your horse is bitten by a rabid animal and the virus enter s the nervous system of your horse; there is no treatment or cure, it is a terminal disease. Although some horses may survive a case of West Nile Virus, they are often left with debilitating neurological changes. In addition, both the West Nile and Rabies Vaccines are very protective. In other words, there is no reason not to vaccinate your horse for these two diseases.

As far as non-core vaccines go, I would recommend vaccinating for Influenda/Rhinotracheitis, especially if you take your horse out and about. Although rarely life-threatening, the upper-respiratory components of theses diseases can be costly to treat, and may keep your horse from leaving the farm. There is also a neurological form of the Rhinotracheitis that our vaccines may carry some protection for.

So, these five vaccines would be the most important as a general rule. Other vaccinations, such as Potomoc Horse Fever and Strep. equi may be beneficial depending on your geographic location and farm situation. I would consult with your veterinarian to discuss which ones may be necessary for your particular situation.

-Daniel R Pike DVM
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