Regular vaccination of horses, ponies and donkeys is an important part of primary care to prevent some serious and potentially life-threatening diseases. We recommend all horses are vaccinated against equine influenza and tetanus.
Equine influenza is a highly contagious viral disease of the respiratory system that results in a high fever, cough and runny nose. A number of disease outbreaks have occurred in the UK over the last few years. Horses can contract the disease from contact with an infected horse or through a contaminated environment.
The vaccination schedule is as follows:
- The first dose is given, followed by a second dose between 21 and 92 days later.
- A third dose is given between 150 and 215 days after the second.
After the primary course is complete, annual boosters are required, on or before the date of the last annual vaccine. Some regulatory bodies and competition centres will require a horse to have a 6 monthly booster to reduce the risk of transmission at large events, however this rule varies.
All horses, ponies and donkeys should be vaccinated against tetanus, Tetanus is usually a fatal disease in the horse, caused by the bacteria Clostridium Tetani. The bacteria are found in the soil and usually enter the body via wounds.
Effective immunity is reliant on the primary vaccination course:
- Two vaccinations given 4-6 weeks apart, followed by an annual booster 12 months after.
- After this, tetanus boosters may be given at 2 yearly intervals.
It is strongly recommended that all horses are vaccinated against influenza and tetanus, regardless of whether they travel or mix with other horses.