How You Vaccinate Your Horse May Increase Immune Response

Horse-health bulletin: Vaccinating with WEST NILE-INNOVATOR® and FLUVAC INNOVATOR® generates four times the immune response to West Nile virus.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Zoetis

WEST NILE-INNOVATOR® generated four times the immune response to West Nile virus.

You know your horse needs annual vaccinations to help protect him from disease. However, did you know that how you or your veterinarian vaccinate him could affect his level of disease protection?

A study showed that separate administration of WEST NILE-INNOVATOR® and FLUVAC INNOVATOR® generated four times the immune response to West Nile virus than was produced by a big one-shot combination vaccine.1 While big one-shot equine vaccine combinations that include West Nile virus and equine influenza/equine herpesvirus (rhino) antigens in a single formulation may be convenient, the horse’s immunity could be sacrificed.

“Dividing antigens, the molecules capable of inducing immune response, into concurrent, separate injections may help increase the horse’s immune response to West Nile,”1 says Dr. Kevin Hankins, senior veterinarian, Zoetis Equine Technical Services. “While big one-shot combination vaccines may offer convenience, horse owners should be aware of the potential trade-offs.”

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As every horse has a unique set of needs, a standard one-size-fits-all equine vaccination program does not exist. The American Association of Equine Practitioners Vaccination Guidelines recommend an evaluation of each individual horse’s situation and vaccinating according to his needs.2

Some key questions to consider when designing your horse’s vaccination program include:

  • Is my horse exposed to other horses?
  • Will my horse travel?
  • Is my horse exposed to wildlife?
  • Is my horse exposed to standing water?
  • Will I exhibit my horse in competitions that have specific health requirements?
  • What is my horse’s age?

“Dividing West Nile and equine influenza/equine herpesvirus (rhino) vaccinations into separate injections allows tailoring of each horse’s vaccination program to his needs,” says Dr. Hankins.

The Equine Immunization Support Guarantee from Zoetis, themost comprehensive guarantee available, delivers additional confidence in your horse’s vaccination program. With the Equine Immunization Support Guarantee, if a horse shows clinical signs for an equine disease for which he was vaccinated, Zoetis will help cover the diagnostic investigation to determine what the horse is infected with. If diagnostics confirm disease, Zoetis will also cover diagnostic and therapeutic charges up to $5,000. To be eligible, a horse must be vaccinated by a veterinarian. Diseases covered by the Equine Immunization Support Guarantee include: equine herpesvirus (EHV) types 1 and 4 (respiratory), West Nile virus, equine influenza virus (EIV), tetanus, eastern equine encephalomyelitis, western equine encephalomyelitis and Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis.

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WEST NILE-INNOVATOR and FLUVAC INNOVATOR are the veterinarian and horse owner’s first choice for equine disease protection.3 The broad portfolio of equine vaccines and health care products from Zoetis is one you can rely on. To learn more about how administering core and risk equine vaccines separately helps protect your horse from disease, visit

1 Cortese V, Hankins K, Holland R, Syvrud K. Serologic Responses of West Nile Virus Seronegative Mature Horses to West Nile Virus Vaccines. J Equine Vet Sci. 2013;33:1101-1105.

2 American Association of Equine Practitioners. Vaccination Guidelines. 2012. Accessed August 17, 2016.

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

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