Why Getting Your Horse Vaccinated Does More Good Than Harm

07/05/2017 by

The reasons many people don’t vaccinate their horses is unclear, especially considering how simple and inexpensive it is when compared to the alternative, but many speculate it is because of the lack of concern about potential disease risk as well as skepticism about the safety and efficacy of equestrian vaccinations. 

Benefit VS Risk

While vaccine-relates cases wherein the injected horse’s system reacted negatively to the vaccine do exist, they are relatively rare. The most common side effect of popularized horse vaccinations is a simple injection site reaction, resulting in little more than redness and/or hives. Compare that to the risks of your horse getting tetanus from not being properly vaccinated: 99% of unvaccinated horses die from preventable tetanus infections. The fatality rate for rabies, a staggering 100%.

Safety Matters

As it stands, modern equestrian vaccines undergo rigorous testing for safety and efficacy before being released for sale. However, it’s important to note that vaccinating your horse is not the same as making them immune. The majority of post-vaccine reactions are part of the horse’s triggered immunological response, a necessary part of the process. Horse owners are urged to remain unalarmed unless otherwise directed by the prescribing veterinarian.

Factors to Consider

In general, a horse’s overall health at the time of the vaccination plays a tremendous role in their reaction, or lack thereof, to any vaccine. Another factor to consider is the horse’s age at the time the vaccine was initially administered. Healthy foals (3-4 months or older) and mares are less likely to fall ill after being vaccinated. Not only that, but efficacy is also dependent on when the horse is vaccinated. NOTE: Many top veterinarians recommend not getting your horse vaccinated for certain diseases during an outbreak. For more information, consult your vet.