Equine Vaccinations

    It's that time of year to start thinking about your horse's annual vaccines. Here's a run down of the vaccines that Chesapeake Large Animal Services has available. Not sure what your horse needs? Give us a call and we would be happy to discuss the perfect vaccination schedule for your animals.


    Rabies - Annual Core Vaccination

    Did you know that the rabies virus is present in all the states of the US except for Hawaii. In our area, it is most commonly spread by raccoons but is also spread by bats, skunks, foxes, and mongoos.  In 2018, there were more than 250 confirmed cases of rabies in animals throughout the state of Maryland. Although none of those cases were in horses, there the CDC reports that there are between 42 and 82 cases of Rabies in horses annually. Rabies also happens to be zoonotic, meaning that it can be spread to humans. Vaccination for rabies is considered a core vaccine and therefore is recommended for all of Chesapeake LAS's equine patients.


    Eastern Equine Encephalitis/Western Equine Encephalitis/Tetanus/West NileAnnual Core Vaccination

    Abbreviated as EWT/WN, the 4-way (or when it containes Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis [VEE], the 5-way) vaccine protects against the most commone neurologic disorders in horses. All of these diseases (except for tetanus) are transmitted through mosquitos, meaning that even if your horse nevere leaves the farm, they are still at risk for contracting these pathologies, and therefore is considered a core vaccine. As VEE is not common in our area, it is not included in the vaccine administered by Cheseapeake LAS. 

    Tetanus is caused by a bacteria (Clostridium tetani) that is endemic in the soil of the US. The bacteria enters through openings in the skin (think surgery sites, lacerations, etc) and causes a spastic paralysis (think typical sawhorse stance with limbs extended). Because it is common for horses to hurt themselves on fencing, stray nails, etc, tetanus is recommend for all Chesapeake LAS patients.


    Potomac Horse Fever - Annual Lifestyle Vaccine

    Caused by Ehrlichia risticii, Potomac Horse Fever is characterized by fever and diarrhea. It is common in our area, so it is recommended to be considered a core vaccine by Chesapeake LAS.


    BotulismAnnual Lifestyle Vaccine

    Clostridium botulinum is the causitive agent of botulism and results in flaccid paralysis, meaning that muscles cannot contract. The paralysis initially is mild, but can escalate quickly to an inability to swallow, stand and breath. Treatment, involving intravenous infusions of antitoxin, can be suscessful early on it the disease process, but once an animal becomes recumbant, death commonly follows. There are multiple strains of botulism, and fortunately statistics show that it is approximately 95% effective and may even decrease the severity of disease in cases where alternative strains of botulism are the cause. Botulism affects approximately 150-250 horses every year. Vaccination is recommended for animals that have any of the following risk factors:

    • Feeding round bales of hay
    • Feeding haylage or silage
    • Feeding on the ground rather than in hay racks
    • Feeding hay that has gotten wet
    • History of botulism on the farm


    Flu/Rhino - Annual Lifestyle Vaccine

    Rhinopneumonitis ("rhino") is caused by a herpes virus and leads to fever, respiratory infection, and {in pregnant mares} abortion. Equine flu results from from the influenza virus and is characterized by fever and respiratory infections.  Due to the increased risk of contraction at shows, the combination vaccine is recommended for animals that show and/or race.


    Strangles - Annual Lifestyle Vaccine

    Strangles is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus equi and results in abscesses within the lymph nodes. Once infected, animals can be asymptomatic carriers or can become obviously sick. Symptoms of strangles include a high fever, swelling of the throat, lethargy, and copious nasal discharge. The disease can be life-threatening when the lymph node swelling interferes with breathing. The bacteria is extremely hardy and can survive in contaminated environments for a long time. Therefore, vaccination is recommended on farms where previous infections have occured. At this time, the intranasal form of the vaccine is recommended by Chesapeake LAS due the risk of abscess formation with the injectable form.


    Coggins - Annual Wellness Testing

    The coggins test checks for Equine Infectious Anemia, which is a highly pathologic virus that results in fever, weakness, anemia, edema, and sometimes death. Because there is no cure for the disease, animals that are determined to be positive for EIA are quarantined or euthanized. All animals that leave the farm for any reason (riding on public property, shows, travel, etc) are required by state law to have an up-to-date coggins test. Each negative test is good for one year.


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