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equine vaccinations ..the facts.

The use of vaccination has greatly reduced the incidence of infectious disease in horses.It is used to raise the level of the horse`s immunity to the particular disease the vaccine targets.

Most vaccines require an initial course typically two injections a small number of weeks apart.It is then important to maintain adequate levels of immunity by regular boosters.The periods of time involved may vary from one vaccine to another.We will advise you on this at the time of vaccination.

It is important to realise that immunity wanes in the absence of boosters.In the absence of vigorous vaccination programs these diseases will become more common.

TETANUS..

This disease is caused by a toxin released from a bacteria usually acquired from the ground and present in a wound with a poor blood supply or with pus.It is a very unpleasant condition for the horse and those attempting to care for it.Treatment can quickly become expensive.Unfortunately many cases end in euthanasia on humane grounds.The good news is it is easy and relatively cheap to protect against it.Once the initial course of two injections is completed boosters are only necessary every 2nd or 3rd year.Combined Influenza and Tetanus vaccines are available.

Tetanus is the very basic protection which we believe all horses should receive

EQUINE INFLUENZA..

Like human influenza this virus undergoes mutation over a period of time.Vaccine manufacturers try to keep one step ahead of the virus by introducing new serotypes to their products if there is no cross reaction with their existing vaccine.We make sure that we monitor the current outbreak situation and use what we perceive to be the most effective products.Equine influenza can cause costly outbreaks in horse populations.The disease causes depression,coughing,nasal discharge(initialy clear but may become coloured)increased breathing rate,loss of appetite and performance reduction.

Full recovery may take weeks to months during which time the horse is out of work.

EQUINE HERPES VIRUS..

EHV infection is not uncommon if you look for it in blood samples.There are several serotypes of which two are important to our horses,EHV1 and EHV4.There is a vaccine available which protects against both of these serotypes.

EHV1 can cause upper respiratory tract disease,abortion in single mares or groups of mares and rarely paralysis of the hind limbs.

EHV4 can cause upper respiratory tract disease and abortion usually in single mares.

The immunity which results from booster vaccinations after the initial course is comparatively short lived and should be carried out 6 monthly to protect against respiratory disease and in the 5th 7th and 9th months of gestation to protect against abortion in broodmares.

For rather technical reasons we tend not to vaccinate when the paralytic form of the disease is present in a group of horses.

STRANGLES..

This disease is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi.It is very infectious,quite common and seems to carry a social stigma for owners of horses that have it.It can have costly implications for owners of horses in multi horse premises in terms of lost use and treatment of the outbreak.Vaccination is available for horses deemed to be at risk of infection but is perhaps less useful in preventing disease generally due to the short lenght of immunity conferred.

There are other vaccines used in horses but they are less common and would tend to be targeted to particular problems.However this is an evolving situation with climate change occurring.The so called emerging diseases have already been seen in other species in the UK and horses may well be next.If you need advice on any vaccination programs please don`t hesitate to call us.