There are 5 bacterial and viral infections that horses can be vaccinated against: Influenza (Flu), Tetanus, Equine Herpes Virus 1 & 4, Rotavirus and Strangles.

We strongly advise that all horses and ponies are vaccinated for influenza and tetanus and it will often be a requirement for competing. Vaccination against the other diseases depends on individual situations.

Influenza: Influenza is a highly infectious respiratory virus affecting horses, donkeys, mules and zebras. Currently present in the UK, it is a common disease that spreads very rapidly especially if horses are not vaccinated. Signs of infection include a high fever, depression, a dry cough and nasal discharge which can last for several weeks and horses can require long periods of time to recover.

The influenza virus is an ever changing virus and there are several strains, not all of which can be vaccinated against. For this reason although vaccination can greatly reduce the severity of clinical signs, vaccinated horses cannot be fully protected against the symptoms of disease.

Horses can be vaccinated from 6months of age against influenza following the below protocol:

Primary vaccination course of 3 vaccinations

  • 1st Vaccination
  • 2nd influenza Vaccination after 21 - 92 days, though for tetanus it must be 4 weeks after the first
  • 3rd Vaccination after 150 - 215 days

Vaccination Checker

Use our handy vaccination date calculator below to work out the due date for your horse's next influenza & tetanus vaccination. Just type in the date of your horse's last vaccination (eg, 01/08/14) in the appropriate box and press enter.

Tetanus: Tetanus is a worldwide problem. The disease is caused by the bacterium clostridium tetani. This is an anaerobic organism (does not like oxygen) prevalent in soil that produces a toxin. Predisposing factors include wounds (especially puncture wounds, castration wounds, foot penetration wounds and dental wounds), birth (the mare and foal and foal are at risk) or any tissue where there is a decreased oxygen level. There is a delay of about 7-21 days between the time of infection and signs of the disease developing.

Signs of infections include erect ears, stiff tail head, muscular spasms, difficulty walking and eating, sweating, a fever, prolapse of the 3rd eyelid and a sawhorse stance. Horses with tetanus need intense treatment and have a very guarded prognosis with the disease often leading to death.

Tetanus vaccination is usually given in combination with the influenza vaccinations however horses can be vaccinated against tetanus alone from 5-6months of age following the below protocol:

  • 1st vaccination
  • 2nd vaccination 4 weeks later
  • Then annual or biannual boosters depending on the vaccination used.

As foals cannot be vaccinated against tetanus until they are 5-6 months of age, it is important that pregnant mares are up to date with their vaccinations and are given a booster 4 to 6 weeks before foaling so that they can provide the foal with some protection when it is born. As well as this foals should be given tetanus anti-toxin at birth.

Equine Herpes Virus: We recommend vaccination of pregnant mares in the 5th, 7th and 9th months of pregnancy. This is to protect foals as the disease can cause abortion, stillbirth and neonatal death. The virus can also cause poor performance in competition horses.

We offer free Zone visits for vaccinations - please call the office for more details (01507 606900).

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