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Vaccinating Your Horse

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Vaccinating Your Horse

Meghan King, Contributor

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Vaccination is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to prevent many infectious diseases in horses. While there is a cost associated with vaccination, focusing on preventive care is much more cost effective than treating a disease.

Vaccinations are treatment with a vaccine to produce immunity against a particular disease. Vaccines typically contain an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from a weakened or killed forms of the microbe. Vaccines serve two main purposes for an individual horse; the first is to greatly reduce or eliminate the chance of a horse getting a particular disease, and the second is to reduce the severity and results of the disease if the horse should get it. In addition, vaccinating a horse against contagious diseases also helps protect other horses by removing that horse as a vector for transmission. While most vaccines are not 100 percent effective in protecting against a disease, there is still good reason to vaccinate. “If a vaccinated horse becomes exposed, it won’t become as ill as a nonvaccinent. A vaccinated horse will also shed less virus into the environment and therefore be less threat to other horses,” said Dr. Townsend. “It’s important not just to vaccinate one horse but to vaccinate the group. That makes it difficult for the virus to actually take hold within the group.”

There is a very small portion of animals known as non-responders that will never respond to vaccines no matter how many times you vaccinate. Though far more animals are protected from disease when they are vaccinated. There is a very small chance of a negative reaction. Fortunately, the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks.

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Vaccinating Your Horse