Karla S. Rugh, DVM, Ph.D.
Vaccinations can save your horse’s life by protecting him from various diseases. The American Association of Equine Practitioners recommends that all horses receive core vaccinations, which provide protection from diseases that are difficult or impossible to treat and/or represent a human health hazard. The core vaccinations include:
- Eastern encephalomyelitis
- Western encephalomyelitis
- West Nile virus
Some companies combine these vaccinations into a single product. The appropriate vaccination schedule depends on the horse’s age, pregnancy status and whether it has been previously vaccinated. Your vet can recommend the best schedule for your horse.
Non-core vaccinations protect against easily spread diseases that primarily pose a threat to certain horses, such as pregnant mares or horses exposed to large groups of other horses at shows, sales or farms. Common non-core vaccinations include:
- Equine herpes virus (rhinopneumonitis)
- Potomac horse fever
The schedule for non-core vaccination depends on the vaccine, the horse’s vaccination history and the circumstances necessitating vaccination. Your vet can tell you if your horse needs non-core vaccinations and if so, when they should be given.
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This article originally appeared in the 2012 issue of Horses USA. Click here to purchase the most recent issue.