Horse vaccination is just as important as human vaccination because they are just as exposed to the risk of diseases as we are. Whether it is a horse that travels a lot or stays in one area, immunization is the only way that it can be protected from severe diseases such as equine influenza, tetanus and herpes virus infection. These are diseases that are extremely expensive to cure, so it would be better to be safe by ensuring that by our horses health is well protected.
For instance, clostridium tetani is the virus that lives in the soil and brings about the tetanus infection. The virus enters the body through even the tiniest wound and may easily take hold before one is aware. Horses are especially vulnerable to this infection, and one that has not been immunized will need a shot of tetanus antitoxin every time it undergoes surgical procedures. The problem however, is that the antitoxin may not be strong enough against the tetanus virus so the only way to really guarantee your horse's health is through vaccination.
When should a horse be vaccinated?
Always talk to your equine veterinarian about the frequency of horse vaccination. They are better placed to advice because they are well versed with your horse's medical history and other needs that are specific to your horse.
You must however ensure that your horse has been vaccinated before mingling with other horses to reduce the risk of infection. When your horse is about to take part in a race or any other event, chances are that it will come into contact with other horses, increasing the risk of contacting diseases. Introducing a new horse into your stables is also another situation which requires you to seriously consider immunization so that if it happens that the new horse has an infection, the others will stay protected.
What diseases should my horse be vaccinated against?
Tetanus and equine influenza are the most common vaccinations. Others however opt to vaccinate against rotavirus, herpes and equine viral arteritis (EVA).
Do horse vaccinations have side effects?
It is very important to remember that although your horse may show some minor side effects, the benefits of vaccinating are way more than the risk you are potentially exposing your horse to by refusing to vaccinate.
This is another important step in ensuring that your horse stays healthy and disease free. Internal parasites bring about a lot of equine diseases, but can luckily be prevented by regularly deworming your horse. It is recommended that you deworm your horse at least twice a year.
There are several factors that affect a horse's worm load for eg. the age of the horse or whether it travels a lot. The best way to know how to go about deworming your horse is to let the vet perform a fecal test to determine the number of eggs present in the feces. Only then will you find the perfect solution for your horse's deworming needs.
It is up to us to ensure that our equine friends are strong and able to perform at their best. It's therefore important that we take the necessary steps to avoid the risk of exposing them to diseases. A vaccinated and dewormed horse will no doubt be happy and healthy!
How to prepare My Horse for the Long Winter Months?