The Importance of Annual Equine Vaccination

Zoetis launches #IVaccinated Sweepstakes to reward horse owners.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Zoetis

Annual vaccination is recommended as part of overall equine health and wellness. But some horse owners are asking, “Why?”

“It all has to do with immunologic memory. Immunologic memory is the body’s immune response against an infectious pathogen,” said Kevin Hankins, DVM, MBA, senior veterinarian for Zoetis Equine Technical Services. “The horse’s body reacts more quickly after the immune system has been primed with an initial series of vaccines. Even though vaccines produce immunologic memory, circulating vaccine-specific antibodies and immune cells in horses can drop in concentration after a few months. Annual boosters help keep these numbers steady. A horse that is not vaccinated annually can be very much at risk.”

Are you looking into purchasing your first horse? Being aware of all the responsibilities involved, such as annual vaccinations, is an important part of responsible horse ownership. Learn more about how much you can expect to spend on a horse in AQHA’s Buying and Owning Your First Horse ebook.

For example, with West Nile virus, and Eastern and Western equine encephalomyelitis (EEE/WEE) viruses, horses are continually exposed to mosquitoes that transmit these potentially deadly viruses. This ongoing potential for exposure means horses should receive annual boosters against West Nile, EEE and WEE prior to peak mosquito season.

“Depending on a horse’s risk to pathogen exposure, he may require more frequent boosters against respiratory viruses such as equine influenza virus and equine herpesvirus (rhinopneumonitis),” said Hankins.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) vaccination guidelines recommend that at-risk horses be vaccinated every six months.1 Horses at risk include those less than 6 years of age, senior horses and horses that may be frequently exposed to respiratory viruses at shows, trail rides or other events.

When it comes to owning a horse, annual vaccines are just one of the necessary costs needed for proper care of your equine partner. Discover what you should expect when purchasing your first horse with AQHA’s Buying and Owning Your First Horse ebook.

To encourage annual equine vaccination, Zoetis is hosting the #IVaccinated Sweepstakes. Horse owners are invited to upload a photo of their horse and have the option to customize it with an #IVaccinated frame and stickers.

The grand prizewinner of the #IVaccinated Sweepstakes will receive a $2,500 gift card to the equine veterinarian or tack store of their choice. Additionally, nine weekly winners will be announced each Tuesday throughout the sweepstakes on the EQStable™ from Zoetis Facebook® page. Weekly winners of the #IVaccinated Sweepstakes will receive a $100 Amazon.comgift card.*

To learn more and to enter the #IVaccinated Sweepstakes, please visit

Abbreviated rules. No purchase necessary to enter. Begins at 12:00:00 AM (CT) on 3/15/17 and ends at 11:59:59 PM (CT) on 5/16/17. Open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry; and are a horse owner or horse enthusiast. Subject to complete Official Rules. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: Zoetis Inc., 10 Sylvan Way, Parsippany, NJ  07054.


1 American Association of Equine Practitioners. Vaccination Guidelines. Accessed February 27, 2017.

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