Common Equine Vaccine Categories – did you know there was such a thing?
Learn how to support your horse’s immunity and health with well-timed vaccines.
If you didn’t know there were vaccine categories, this is a very important post to read. You may come under fire from your veterinarian if you ask them to alter their recommended vaccination schedule for your horse so the best way to have a dialog with your vet is to become educated on the subject at hand and be confident in your decision. In the end, it is your horse and you have every right to make any decisions regarding the health and wellbeing of your animal.
Common vaccine categories
Core Vaccines: These vaccines can help to prevent diseases that could be fatal to your horse. They are recommended when there is a significant risk of disease in the area in which your horse lives or travels. For example: Rabies, Tetanus, Potomac Horse Fever, Encephalomyelitis (Eastern, Western and Venezuelan).
Non-Core Vaccines: These vaccines are administered in hopes of preventing diseases that are usually only a nuisance to the horse. These are not recommended as they will compromise the immune system and can potentially cause negative side effects. For example: Rhinopneumonitis, Influenza, Strangles.
Yet to be proven vaccines: These include vaccines developed and brought to market for diseases that are rarely fatal. They may result in immune compromise, pose significant risk of negative side effects, or even predispose your horse to the disease you are trying to prevent. For example: West Nile Virus, Equine Protozoal Encephalomyelitis (EPM).
To find information about the incidence of certain diseases in your state, contact your state veterinary board or Center of Disease Control. Be aware that just because a certain number of cases have been reported in your state does not necessarily mean that those animals became sick or even needed to be treated. This should be helpful in determining if the benefits associated with vaccination outweigh the risks.
Next week we will discuss common reactions to vaccines that your horse may experience.