Include Horse Health as a Consideration in Show Prep

Vaccinations can help keep your horses performing at their best.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Zoetis

Looking ahead to spring shows, you should expect to bring home only one thing – the grand prize, not a sick horse. Unfortunately, shows can be a breeding ground for disease transfer.

Whenever you expose your horses to other horses, you pose a risk to their health. But there are things you can do to help protect your horse from disease – most important, vaccinations. For the control of infectious diseases, vaccinations are an integral part of good equine management to help maximize the health, productivity and performance of horses.1

For help designing a vaccination program customized for your horse before show season, talk with your veterinarian and follow the American Association of Equine Practitioners vaccination guidelines. These guidelines include into two categories: core vaccines, which should be administered to all horses, and risk-based vaccines, the administration of which depends on certain risk factors. Core vaccines can help protect your horses against fatal diseases such as West Nile, eastern equine encephalomyelitis, western equine encephalomyelitis, tetanus and rabies.

Veterinarians may recommend protection against equine influenza and equine herpesvirus (also known as rhinopneumonitis) types 1 and 4, which are common risk-based diseases, based on the risk of infection for your horse. Geographic location, amount of travel, incidence of disease, environment, age, previous medical history and cost of immunization versus potential cost of disease are factors your veterinarian might consider.1

Do you know what to do if you think your horse is colicking? Can you spot the signs of acute laminitis? The AQHA Common Horse Health Issues Report can give you the tools you need to be proactive when a health problem arises. Order a copy of the report so we can help you help your horse.

Vaccination before show season can not only help protect your competing horses but also can help prevent loss of performance and training time. For example, without vaccination against equine influenza virus (EIV), horse owners can face a financial risk of up to $885, based on diagnostics, treatment and days of missed training.* The new equine risk calculator available soon for FLUVAC INNOVATOR® compares the cost of vaccination with the cost to treat for disease and training days lost. Using the calculator, a horse owner or veterinarian can determine equine influenza risk depending on the horse’s vaccination status and help devise a rational vaccination program. The Equine Influenza Calculator app is available for free in the Apple® App Store®.

Vaccines such as the WEST NILE-INNOVATOR® or FLUVAC INNOVATOR lines of products help provide demonstrated efficacy and help assure you and your veterinarian that your horse’s vaccination program includes reliable disease protection. Much like the Equine Influenza Calculator app, the WEST NILE-INNOVATOR app puts a dollar amount to disease risk. It’s also available for free in the Apple® App Store®.

Keep your equine buddy happy and healthy. Order a copy of the AQHA Common Horse Health Issues report so you are ready to recognize symptoms and start treatment when something goes wrong.

Although disease can be a cause for concern at shows, the guidance of your veterinarian and the right vaccination program can help protect your horse – helping ensure a healthy and successful show season.

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1 American Association of Equine Practitioners. Vaccination Guidelines. 2013. Available at: Accessed Dec. 20, 2013.

*These costs are based on diagnostics, treatment and days of missed training based on the probability of mild, moderate or severe equine influenza in an unvaccinated horse.

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