Time for Spring Equine Vaccinations!

COVID-19 has restricted the show circuit as well as trail rides, however you should not skimp on your horses vaccinations! Vaccines support essential immunity, and if a horse does get sick, the vaccine will lessen the impact of the illness. Call now to schedule an appointment with your Equine vet in Cannon Falls, MN. Here is an overview on setting a vaccine plan for your horse.

Available vaccines

Like dogs and cats, horses have a set vaccine routine. The vaccines are divided in two groups: core vaccines and risk-based vaccines.

Core vaccines include those that every horse should receive every spring. Rabies, tetanus, West Nile and encephalitis (EEE/WEE) are all part of the core vaccine group. These diseases place horses at risk whether they are barely-ridden pasture pets or show horses who travel throughout the country. Even if you do not do more than ride for pleasure at home, your horse still needs core vaccines.

Risk-based vaccines such as Strangles and Potomac Horse Fever may not be necessary for all horses. Contact Cannon Vet Services to discuss what your horse needs.. Your horse may receive them once you discuss your horse’s travel expectations, location and odds of exposure. These vaccines may address influenza, strangles, herpesvirus, Potomac Horse Fever and other less common conditions.

Deciding which vaccines

When new horse owners ask about which vaccines they need, the answer is often a frustrating one: it depends. Horses that travel or live in a barn where there are frequent equine visitors will likely receive more vaccines than horses that do not travel or constantly meet new companions. Schedules also determine what your horse needs now—if your horse received a rabies vaccination last fall, they do not need another one in the spring.

In summer, the vaccines that should be made a priority are those that combat mosquito-based infections. West Nile and EEE/WEE are transmitted by mosquitoes, so your horse should receive those vaccines every spring before insects emerge from hibernation.

If you are showing or using crowded trails, consider vaccinating for diseases that spread quickly through crowded conditions. Strangles, influenza and herpesvirus spread like wildfire between horses. It is very easy for a horse to contract one of these diseases and then spread it through other barns and horse parks.

Once spread, these diseases become difficult to contain, and infected barns often must lock down using measures that make COVID-19 seem like recreation. Vaccination prevents infection or, at the very least, reduces symptoms and transmission. So, if your horse is spending time in dense areas with other horses, these vaccines may be important.

You also need to consider timing. All vaccines take several weeks to become effective, so a vaccination for strangles on Friday will not have your horse ready for a show on Saturday. Plan well ahead so any risk-based vaccines are administered on time.

If you need equine vaccines in Cannon Falls, MN, Cannon Veterinary Services Ltd is available for farm calls. We are an experienced horse vet and also offer dentistry, lameness evaluations and deworming. Call us today to schedule a farm call.