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No travel, no vaccination?

Dr. Hankins explains why your horse’s health could be at risk.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Zoetis.

If you only vaccinate one horse in a group, other horses that are not immunized could get sick.

Question

I don’t travel with my horse – do I need to vaccinate him?

Answer

All horses should receive annual vaccinations for core equine diseases, which include Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis, rabies, tetanus and West Nile, explains Kevin Hankins, DVM, MBA, senior technical services veterinarian for Zoetis. When it comes to core equine diseases, it doesn’t matter if your horse travels off the farm or not — they can affect a horse that never leaves his pasture just as much as they can sicken a horse that regularly travels. These diseases are spread through environmental factors and pathogens, like mosquitoes, that every horse has potential, ongoing exposure to.

Horses in closed herd situations may require fewer respiratory vaccines than horses competing or traveling to group activities. Respiratory diseases are risk-based equine diseases, so be sure to consider your horse’s risk factors when determining to vaccinate or not. Risk factors include:

  • Exposure to other horses
  • Travel
  • Exposure to wildlife
  • Exposure to standing water
  • Age

If you are traveling to events with one horse, be sure to vaccinate your whole herd, not just select horses. If you only vaccinate one horse in a group, other horses that are not immunized could get sick. Only by vaccinating all horses in your herd is the potential for disease incidence decreased. As each horse has a unique set of needs, a standard one-size-fits-all equine vaccination program does not exist. Consult with your veterinarian to determine which diseases you should vaccinate your horse against, how often and at what time of the year. Be sure to vaccinate your horse with FLUVAC INNOVATOR® and WEST NILE-INNOVATOR® for the most trusted equine disease protection.1

1 Data on file, MDI sales data for WEST NILE-INNOVATOR and FLUVAC INNOVATOR as of 12/31/15, Zoetis LLC.

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