What Vaccinations Should My Horse Have?

I am new to horse-keeping and want to know in advance of making the purchase what vaccinations horses should routinely have.

First of all, let me commend you for researching your new pet’s exact needs before taking the plunge – if only everyone did the same! The exact vaccine protocol you should follow depends on your horse’s age, the kind of stabling, intended activities and more. You should also consult your vet about needs regarding your specific locality. Here is a summary of some recommended vaccines.

Even healthy horses should be vaccinated for this often fatal disease. Equine encephalitis comes in three forms; Eastern, Western and Venezuelan. All three are combined with tetanus toxoid in one vaccine. This is commonly referred to as a VEW-T or 4-way vaccine.

This disease can also cause death if it is not treated early and aggressively, and manufacturers recommend annual application. This is not a vaccine, but an antitoxin against the tetanus neurotoxin.

Rabies can be fatal in horses and can be transmitted from wild animals such as raccoons and bats. Vaccine manufacturers recommend annual vaccination for horses, although the same vaccine is known to provide protection to dogs and cats for at least three years.

Symptoms of flu in horses is similar to a bad dose for humans or dogs, and is rarely fatal. Often the best treatment is rest. However, if your horse is stabled in a busy livery yard, it may sometimes be sensible to vaccinate, although this is often of only short-term advantage.