If you haven’t done so already, and given the particularly mild winter we had in Ohio, I’m betting you have, it’s time to get your horses up to date on their vaccines. Once upon a time, when I was still in school and competing in Horse Bowl, the correct answer to, “what vaccinations should your horse get every year?” was; Tetanus, Influenza, Rinopneumonitis (Equine Herpes) and Encephalomyelitis (also mosquito-borne, causing a virus that inflames the brain and/or spinal cord), or to make it easier to remember, TIRE. But, as they often do, times have changed. The best course of action if you’re unsure is to consult your Veterinarian. But, if you prefer to try to save a little money and are comfortable administering the vaccines yourself, you still need to know what to buy.
In the US, given the increasing number of viral plague carrying mosquitoes, the West Nile Virus vaccine has quickly become a basic staple of the spring vaccine routine. If you live in a particularly “buggy” area, an additional booster may be required in the fall as well.
Rabies isn’t one we usually think of for horses, but for dogs. Although it’s fairly uncommon for horses, it can be fatal. Potomac Horse Fever and Strangles are often requested, based on age and exposure.
Your core vaccines may also have special combinations designed for effectiveness, based on where your horse lives and what they’re commonly exposed to. The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) produced a chart to offer some guidelines. vaccination-chart
In general, though annual or bi-annual Vet farm calls can be costly, especially if you have multiple horses, it’s still valuable health insurance. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, do the research for treatment on any number of equine viruses and you’ll see what I mean.