Take Extra Care With Vaccines

Vaccines that are handled and cared for properly can provide maximum benefits.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Pfizer Animal Health

Vaccines are an important part of disease prevention and control. Because of this, it’s vital that horse owners work with their veterinarian to understand proper vaccine handling and storage.

Correct vaccine storage and handling techniques are critical for ensuring vaccine efficacy and to help provide disease protection for your horses. Vaccines must be maintained at appropriate temperatures from the time they leave the manufacturer to the time of administration. Horse owners can monitor this by storing a thermometer, typically registering between 35 degrees to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, along with the vaccines in a refrigerator. Also, vaccines stored in the refrigerator should be placed in the middle, not in the door or against the back, and stocked with the shortest expiration date toward the front.

Sometimes storage and handling instructions may be product-specific, so it’s important to read and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Note the specifics for each product for storage temperature, exposure to light during storage and shaking of the product to assure uniform vaccine suspension.1 Any vaccines that have been exposed to temperatures outside of the recommended range or that have been contaminated should not be used and should be disposed of properly. Lack of adherence to appropriate temperature maintenance could result in ineffective vaccines and could increase the rate of local reactions after administration.

Download your FREE copy of The Q-Racing Journal’s EPM report to educate yourself and get up to date on EPM for the safety of your horses.

Along with instructions for proper storage and handling, each vaccine has packaging with specific administration recommendations, which should be followed carefully. Take care to assure that vaccines are administered via the intended route. With intramuscular injections, unless a specific site is indicated on the labeling of the product – such as in the neck, large muscles of the hind legs or pectoral muscles – the vaccine can be administered in your preferred muscle. Also, per manufacturer instruction, vaccine administration sites – either the skin and hair coat or mucosa – should be clean prior to vaccination.

To help avoid vaccine contamination and possible adverse reactions, each animal should be vaccinated with separate, new needles for each vaccine. Additionally, limiting the number of vaccines that you give, and administering only one vaccine per site can help reduce risk of vaccine-related adverse events.

Pfizer Animal Health is committed to producing effective vaccines and helping provide high-quality products for disease prevention. Horse owners can choose from a full line of safe and effective vaccines for the disease protection needs of their horses, including vaccines such as FLUVAC INNOVATOR® or WEST NILE-INNOVATOR®, providing demonstrated efficacy and supported by a team of experienced and knowledgeable professionals.

Vaccines should be cared for and handled properly, just as any other instrument that we use. Doing so helps offer the protection needed against diseases. By taking extra care and consulting with a veterinarian, you can help ensure that your horse will receive maximal benefit from vaccination.

More importantly, The Q-Racing Journal’s EPM report will give you methods to prevent the disease from ever affecting your horse through proper prevention methods.

For more information on Pfizer Animal Health’s line of equine vaccines, contact your Pfizer Animal Health representative or call 855-4AH-PFIZER (855-424-7349).

1 American Association of Equine Practitioners. Vaccine Storage and Handling. 2012. Available at: Accessed August 1, 2012.

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