πŸ΄πŸ’‰ What inoculations & vaccinations does my horse need?

Vaccination needs depend on the individual horse, how it’s used, its age, its environment, and your geographic location.  Your veterinarian can help you plan the best vaccination program for your horse, but this is a start.

DiseaseFoalsYearlingsAdult HorsesBroodmares
Tetanus2-4 months 1st dose
Repeat in 3-4 weeks
AnnualAnnualAnnual + 4-6 weeks prior to foaling
Encephalomyelitis
(EEE-WEE)
2-4 months 1st dose
Repeat in 3-4 weeks
Annual-SpringAnnual-SpringAnnual + 4-6 weeks prior to foaling
Influenza3-6 months 1st dose
Repeat in 3-4 weeks
Booster every 3 mo.
3 month intervals3 month intervals6 month intervals with booster 4-6 weeks prior to foaling
Rhinopneumonitis
(EHV-1 & EHV-4)
2-4 months 1st dose
Repeat at 2-3 month intervals
3 month intervals3 month intervals5th, 7th, & 9th months pre-foaling
Rabies2-4 monthsAnnualAnnualAnnual
Strangles2-3 monthsBiannual for high risk horsesBiannual for high risk horsesBiannual + 4-6 weeks pre-foaling
 
Potomac Horse Fever2-4 monthsBiannualBiannualBiannual + 4-6 weeks pre-foaling
Botulism (Type B)2 weeks – 8 monthsCheck with VetCheck with VetSeries of 3 doses a month apart – final dose 2-4 weeks pre-foaling

In many parts of the United States, horseowners also vaccinate to protect their horses from West Nile Virus.

What is West Nile Virus? Is there a vaccine for horses and should I use it?

West Nile Virus is a sometimes-fatal virus transmitted to birds, horses, and humans through infected mosquitos.  Most parts of the continental United States have seen at least some occurrences of West Nile Virus infection, typically during the summer months when mosquitos are most active.

As of 2004, two vaccines are licensed for use in horses to reduce the risk of West Nile infection.  They are West Nile Innovator from Fort Dodge Animal Health and Recombitek from Merial.  Both vaccines have met USDA requirements for safety testing.  Although the vaccines have not been proven to completely eliminate the virus, they do significantly reduce the amount of virus circulating in the blood.  Most veterinarians recommend them – be sure to check with yours if you have any questions. 

Adult horses are typically given two doses of vaccine.  The second dose should be 3-6 weeks after the first, and should be given at least one month before mosquito season.  Vaccinated adult horses generally need a booster shot annually.

Foals typically receive three doses: one at 3-4 months of age, another one month later, and a final dose 6-8 weeks after the second.  They also receive a booster the following spring.

Whether or not you choose to vaccinate your horses for West Nile Virus, you should remove potential mosquito breeding grounds.  These include areas of standing water such unused water troughs, old tires, and containers of accumulated rainwater, as well as piles of decaying organic matter such as leaves and manure.  Add mosquito dunks or fish to continually-used water troughs and ponds to kill mosquito larva, and set up mosquito traps.  Your local authorities may also set up aerial spraying for mosquito reduction.