23 Jul 2012

I am neither capable of nor do I want to write any exhaustive commentary about equine vaccine. There are plenty of those available. What I would like to do is answer some commonly asked questions and make a few personal statements about our recommended vaccine program.

Question: Dr. Heron are all these vaccines really important and necessary?

Answer: Vaccines are important and necessary in only one case; when the preventable disease happens to your horse or to a horse belonging to someone that you care about. It then becomes personal and exquisitely important. A client once told me “Doc that twenty eight dollars I’d have spent on the vaccination would have been a lot cheaper than the twenty five hundred dollars I spent saving my horse from West Nile Infection wouldn’t it?” Yes.

Question: Should I give all those vaccines every year or more?

Answer: Again if it involves a horse you like and want to keep, the answer is once again, yes. I have personally seen horses get the disease in question when not fully and continually vaccinated according to recommendations. One shining example is Tetanus. Tetanus is one vaccination I would not skip even for one year. Horses have a strange and often profound way of getting injured and continually putting themselves in harm’s way. You really should vaccinate accordingly.

Question: Doc, what the heck is botulism and should I vaccinate for that too?

Answer: Botulism rears its ugly head in our practice all too often. I always recommend the preventative vaccine and especially if your feed hay in round bale form. Botulism is caused by decaying animal or vegetable matter which produce toxic spores and will form only small black spots in round bales. Small animals may die and decay in other feed and water sources as well. I am continually amazed at how often we see this disease and how little people know about it. Botulism can be very hard and very expensive to treat. Even with the best efforts to save an animal with this disease the outcome is often fatal.

This is surely not an extended dissertation on vaccines; just a few issues that frequently come up. If you have any other questions please feel free to give our office a call and we will be happy to answer them for you. Keep Riding!

P.S. Researchers have cautioned us of the likelihood, this year, for a marked rise in insect born equine diseases. Evidence of this dilemma is already being seen in several counties in NC.

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