Kate Southorn shares the benefits of vaccinating your horse.
Vaccination – preventing disease and protecting your horse
There are multiple benefits to vaccinating your horse. The first and most important is that the vaccine protects your horse from serious diseases, particularly Equine Influenza and Tetanus. Vaccination visits are an opportunity for you to ask your vet questions and make the most of their expertise in all aspects of preventative healthcare.
Tetanus vaccination is essential for all equines as the bacteria that causes Tetanus, Clostridium Tetani, is present in soil everywhere and can enter the body through minor abrasions, releasing toxins resulting in excruciating muscle spasms which make eating and drinking impossible and is usually fatal. Tetanus vaccination is very affordable, requiring an initial course of two vaccines, 4-6 weeks apart, followed by a vaccine at 1 year and then boosters every other year.
Combined vaccination against Equine Influenza and Tetanus is recommended for every horse and is essential for competing horses or those that are kept on large yards. Influenza infections are not usually fatal but can be serious and expensive to treat. Infection on a yard requires strict quarantine preventing horses from competing and can cause significant loss of performance in affected animals. Vaccination involves an initial course of two vaccines 4-6 weeks apart followed by a vaccine 6 months later and then a booster within 365 days.
At your horse’s annual vaccination we usually listen to your horse’s heart and lungs, checking for any abnormalities which may have developed and monitoring any that have already been identified. We ask about your horse’s general wellbeing but it may be useful to note down in the weeks before the visit any concerns that you have about your horse. To make the most of your visit we can discuss your horse’s general health including the correct body condition, weight management and diet for his type and stage of life. We can discuss your internal parasite control and give advice on which wormer to use when or which management program would be best for you. It is useful to have details of the worming products you have used recently and the dose used. We are also happy to discuss any lumps or bumps or other health issues that you need advice on.
If following these discussions we identify the need for further examination of your horse, this would incur an examination charge however we can discuss details with you before proceeding. Further treatment such as medications and dental work are charged for in the normal way.
At Scarsdale Vets, we are focused on providing quality preventative care for all equines. We offer a dental health check free of charge at vaccination time and discuss when dental treatment should carried out and whether your horse has any specific dental problems. Dental treatment can also be carried out, time permitting; if you think your horse is likely to need teeth rasping it is useful to let our client care team know when you book your visit, so time can be allowed. If it is noted that no rasping is required no charge will be made.
Vaccines against diseases including Strangles, Equine Herpes Virus, Equine Viral Arteritis and West Nile Virus are available for horses. For information on any of these options please contact us on 01332 294929.