from the Vet Corner Archives

Part of Horse Previews Magazine website. Posted on 02/03/2000; 2:00:00PM.

Veterinary Corner 02/00: Vaccinations

by Sylvia Miller, DVM
Edgecliff Equine Hospital
S. 1322 Park Road, Spokane, WA 99212 * 509/924-6069

This has been a rather controversial subject lately, particularly, on the subject of foal vaccinations. There are several vaccines available from different manufacturers and different sources (your veterinarian, the feed store, other?). Here are a few guidelines that you should follow in vaccinating your horse:

  • Buy a quality product and properly transport and store the vaccine before injection. Then use the vaccine before the expiration date!

  • If you are administering the vaccine yourself, make sure that you are properly trained in intramuscular vaccination. The consequences of an accidental venous or arterial injection can be severe.

  • Know what a "vaccine reaction" is. This can be life threatening to annoying, depending on whether a true anaphylactic reaction has occurred to a vaccine component or whether hives or an abscess develops hours to days afterward.

  • Educate yourself on the proper vaccination schedule for your individual horse/farm and geographic region. If your horse lives alone and rarely leaves the pasture, it may not need a strangles vaccination.

  • Keep up-to-date records on vaccinations administered to your horses.

  • Remember that you may be saving a few dollars by administering the vaccine yourself, but your veterinarian reports all vaccine problems associated with a particular brand and is, in this regard, also an epidemiologist. This type of feedback is essential to the manufacturer who may then modify the vaccine components or recommend a different age-related schedule for administering the specific vaccine.

  • Another advantage to having your veterinarian administer the vaccines is the physical examination of your horse. The usual parameters considered are temperature, pulse quality and rate, and respiratory rate, evaluation of lung fields and trachea for unusual noises, muscular and skeletal bone appearance and palpation, neurological signs, vision and eye responses, mucous membranes (lips/gums/vulva) appearance and response to pressure, coat and skin appearance, legs and hooves, urogenital system, gastrointestinal (gut sounds) auscultation, lymph node palpation, body condition score, dental exam, and then noting any abnormalities observed.

    Keep all of these recommendations in mind when you pick up that next vaccine. And ask your veterinarian for his/her perspective!

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