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- Town & Country Notes: Animal Health News
Vaccines are preparations of killed microorganisms, living weakened microorganisms, etc., introduced into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease by causing the formation of antibodies.
Vaccines are very delicate compounds, which if mis-handled or administered incorrectly will be ineffective or neutralized.
Vaccines are typically administered initially as a two-shot series and then annually or semiannually.
The vaccines and vaccine protocols listed below are tailored to our practice and geographic location, and follow the guidelines of the AAEP.
Eastern & Western Encephalomyelitis: Encephalomyelitis is caused by a virus, which is transmitted by mosquitos. The virus causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. The vaccine is very effective against the disease.
Tetanus Toxoid: Tetanus is a disease caused by a specific toxin of a bacillus (Clostridium tetani) which usually enters the body through wounds. It is characterized by spasmodic contractions and rigidity of some or all of the voluntary muscles (especially of the jaw, face and neck). The bacteria is found in horse manure. The vaccine is very effective and administered once yearly. The vaccine is boostered in case of laceration, surgery, or pentrating wounds.
West Nile Virus: West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitos. The virus causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. In problem areas, vaccination 2 times per year may be recommended.
Rhinopneumonitis: Rhinopneumonitis is a herpes virus which causes respiratory infections, abortions, and inflammation of the spinal cord. The vaccine is not 100% effective and peak protection only lasts 10-12 weeks. Pregnant mares should be vaccinated at 3, 5, 7 and 9 months from the breeding date. Horses that are travelling to shows, races, sales, etc. may need to be vaccinated every 3 months. The vaccine does not protect against the neurologic form of the disease.
Influenza: Influenza is a virus that causes high fever and respiratory infection. The vaccine is not 100% effective, and peak protection lasts only 10-12 weeks. Horses travelling to shows, sales, racing events, etc., may need to be vaccinated every 3 months. Horses that do not travel should be vaccinated at least once a year.
Potomac Horse Fever(PHF): Potomac Horse Fever is caused by the parasite Ehrlichia risticii. Horses are infected through small land snails that carry the parasite. It is not contagious and occurs more commonly in wet areas. The disease causes high fever, laminitis, and severe diarrhea. The vaccine is fairly effective and is administered once a year. It is administered 2-4 times yearly in problem areas.
Strangles:Strangles is a bacterial disease caused by Streptococcus equi. It is highly contagious and causes the following signs: high fever, abscessed lymph nodes,and respiratory infection. Horses may develop guttural pouch infections, sinus infections, purpura hemorrhagica, laryngeal paralysis, and bastard strangles. There is an intranasal vaccine which is more effective than the intramuscular vaccine. When used, the vaccine is given once a year except in endemic barns (that have frequent outbreaks) where semiannual vaccination is recommended.