Equine Vaccine Guide Web Tile 300x200-499Vaccinations

Just like for you or I, there are a range of vaccinations available for your horse that help prevent serious disease.  Often pathogens that affect horses appear without warning so waiting until your horse appears at high risk may be too late to avoid serious illness, a large bill and potentially death.

Vaccination LR-501

Tetanus  (‘Lockjaw’)
If your horse has a wound and you cannot be certain of vaccination cover, we can provide a tetanus shot to protect for 2 weeks only.  We also recommend starting vaccination at this point to prevent future risk.


Clinical Signs

Recommended Vaccination

Disease is by the bacterial toxin (found in soil) entering the body, usually through a wound.  The toxin flourishes in low oxygenated areas so small non-bleeding wounds (may not be seen) are the most common routes of infection.  

Treatment is always costly and often results in death despite best efforts due to spastic paralysis of all muscles including those involved in digestion, respiration and cardiac function.  

The vaccination is highly effective if the correct protocol is followed.

  • 1st vaccination: > 3 mths of age

  • 2nd : ~4wks after 1st

  • 3rd  : 1 yr after 2nd

  • Boosters : every 1 - 3 years



Vaccination reduces likelihood of catching this disease but it doesn’t completely prevent it.  However, if a fully vaccinated horse is infected disease tends to be less severe.
Where horses are infected, those showing signs need to be isolated with separate handling.  No new horses should be introduced to the environment until clearance from disease is confirmed and ideally all horses in the environment should be granted clearance before leaving a property.

Vaccination should be completed before the horse becomes at risk of catching disease as serious complicated strangles-related disease can result from vaccinating during incubation period.  Horses are most at risk in multiple horse environments with changing populations such as busy liveries, shared arenas, and competition grounds.



Clinical Signs

Recommend Vaccination

Horses become very dull due to fever and gland pain, but death is rare.  It is very contagious via discharges that can be carried on clothing, fencing and grooming equipment. 

Some horses carry the bacteria and routinely shed it into the environment without disease so your horse may be at risk from contact with any other horse or shared facilities.

The bacteria (Strep. equi equi) is highly contagious and present in discharge from affected horses in high numbers.  It also has the ability to ‘hide’ in some previously infected horses’ airway being randomly shed without signs of disease.

Classically causes a respiratory disease with copious amount of yellow/green, thick, nasal discharge and swollen facial glands.

  • Fever causing dullness and poor appetite

  • Swollen glands around head/neck

  • Snotty nose (thick yellow/green)

Usually multiple signs seen but not always at the same time.

Lab tests on discharge or throat swabs are used to detect active infection.  Due to the ability of the bacteria to ‘hide’ we also require multiple tests after signs disappear to ensure clearance.

Vaccination (which can be combined with tetanus cover) reduces severity of illness so the horse is off work less time and requires less treatment.  Horses in contact with others currently showing signs should not be vaccinated, please discuss with a vet.

Primary Course

3 injections 2 weeks apart (i.e. takes 4 weeks minimum to complete).  Horse is then covered by the vaccine Boosters every year.  You may need to restart if you go over a year anniversary by an appreciable period.

Combination with tetanus

It is sensible to protect all horses from tetanus as the toxin is present throughout all environments, especially in soil.  If not already protected, we can incorporate tetanus protect with combined vaccines at the primary course and every 5th booster.

Please contact us if you have any concerns or wish to discuss this disease and prevention in more detail.

Herpes (EHV)

Equine Herpes Virus causes a range of diseases, most commonly associated with respiratory disease or as a cause of abortion.  All pregnant mares should be vaccinated at months 5, 7 and 9 of pregnancy to reduce abortion risk.  If you are interested in vaccinating to protect against respiratory disease, please speak to a vet.