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Know What Your Horse Needs: Don’t Do More Harm Than Good

Reprinted from Horse Journal



Don’t vaccine horses that:

· Already show symptoms of an infectious disease

· Are recently known to have been directly exposed to an infectious disease and may still be in the incubation period

· Are in poor physical/nutritional condition

Weigh benefits versus risks with:

· Foals less than three months old, because of the likelihood that maternal antibodies will inactivate the vaccine. An exception might be made to this rule in the case of an outbreak of a disease where it is reasonably certain that the mare has also never been exposed.

· Horses with a history of severe vaccine reactions. Vaccinations in this group should generally be limited to only the life-threatening diseases, and titers can help determine if the horse even needs these vaccines. Risk of reactions may also be further reduced by avoiding brands known to have caused a problem in the past, spreading out vaccinations, avoiding multi-ingredient vaccines, and pretreatment with anti-inflammatories and possibly antihistamines.

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