Vaccination is an important part of your horse's overall wellness program. However no vaccine is 100% effective and other management practices are also important in minimizing your horse's risk of acquiring and spreading diseases. Many factors are considered when deciding on the appropriate vaccination program for your horse, including your horse's age, type, gender, use, the season of the year, geographic location, management practices on the farm and environmental conditions. Also to be considered are the expense, potential side effects, and the anticipated effectiveness of the vaccine.
Recommended "core" vaccine programs for the interior of B.C. are as follows:
1. Trail riding and "backyard" horses: Vaccinate once yearly in the spring with tetanus, eastern and western encephalomyelitis, influenza, and West Nile Virus. If your horse has never been vaccinated, a booster vaccine in about 4 weeks is required following the first vaccination.
2. Show/competition horses: Vaccinate in the spring with tetanus, eastern and western encephalomyelitis, West Nile Virus, plus intranasal influenza. If your horse is at a boarding stable, travelling, or competing for more than 5 months, then booster the intranasal influenza in 5-6 months.
3. Race horses: Vaccinate in the spring with tetanus, eastern and western encephalomyelitis, and West Nile Virus. Vaccinate with intranasal influenza prior to leaving for the racetrack, then booster in 5 months. For 2- and 3-year-olds, vaccinate for rhinopneumonitis prior to leaving for the track and booster every 3 months. Some racetracks require vaccination for strangles prior to arriving at the track.
4. Pregnant mares: Vaccinate at 5, 7, and 9 months of gestation for virus abortion (rhinopneumonitis). One month prior to foaling, vaccinate with tetanus, eastern and western encephalomyelitis, and West Nile Virus.
5. Foals and yearlings: Administer tetanus antitoxin at birth. Vaccinate at 6-8 months with tetanus, eastern and western encephalomyelitis, West Nile Virus, influenza, and rhinopneumonitis. Booster this vaccine in one month and again in the spring of the yearling year. Yearlings going to sales or shows should be vaccinated with intranasal influenza prior to leaving the farm, as well as for rhinopneumonitis at 3 month intervals.