Core vaccines ( vaccines recommended for all horses)
1 – Tetanus: All horses are at risk of developing tetanus which is often fatal. Clostridium tetani is a bacteria that is found in the feces of horses and also in the soil. Because of this horses are at high risk of exposure. Lacerations, puncture wounds and exposed umbilical cord in foals are all routes that horses may become infected. All horses should be vaccinated annually and consider adding a booster if your horse gets an open wound.
2 – Rabies: This disease is fatal and poses a public health risk for people. We recommend all horses are vaccinated annually for rabies.
3 – Eastern/Western Equine Encephalomyelitis: This neurological disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. We see cases in Ontario every year and this disease has a high fatality rate. We recommend yearly vaccination for this disease.
4 – West Nile Virus: This is a neurologic disease that is also transmitted by Mosquitos. We see several cases of west nile in horses in Ontario every year. Horses that become infected get infected often display neurologic signs such as muscle twitching, gait and behavioural abnormalities. This disease can be fatal and horses that survive may have permanent residual effects. Yearly vaccination is recommended.
Risk based vaccines:
1 – Strangles: Streptococcus Equi Subspecies equi is a highly contagious bacteria that causes strangles. Horses that become infected develop a fever, nasal discharge and enlarge abscessed lymph nodes. Once infected some horses become silent carriers and continue to transmit the disease. We recommend this vaccine for horses that have a high risk of exposure and for these horses we recommend vaccinating yearly with an intranasal vaccine.
2 – Potomac Horse Fever: This disease occurs in summer and early fall. It is caused by a Protaozoa Neorickettsia risticii and horses contract the disease by ingesting aquatic insects. Symptoms include a fever, anorexia, diarrhea (ranging from mild to severe) and laminitis. Horses that reside on farms near a stream or water are at higher risk of developing this disease. We also recommend vaccinating horses on farms where the disease has occurred in the past. The vaccine is of questionable efficacy and this is thought to be because there are multiple strains of the disease out there. Please feel free to discuss if your horse might be at risk.
3 – Equine Influenza: This disease is a rapidly spreading respiratory disease. Horses that are not in closed herds ( a closed herd is a herd that has no horses coming or going from the farm/herd) should be vaccinated for this disease. This disease often occurs in outbreaks. Depending on risk level horses should be vaccinated every 6-12 months.
4 – Equine Herpes Virus: This disease is spread from horse to horse or by indirect contact with secretions from an infected or carrier horse. Horses may show symptoms such as a fever, a cough, nasal discharge and lethargy. Equine herpes virus may also causes abortions and acute neurologic disease.