Vaccine reactions can be frustrating for you and your horse. Many horses appear to react to the ‘tetanus’ component of the combined flu and tetanus vaccines, with others reacting to certain vaccine brands. Each vaccine brand contains different strains of the flu virus, and your horse may be reactive to a particular strain. Working out if there is a particular brand that your horse reacts to means we can ensure a different brand is used to limit the risk of a reaction.
Giving an anti-inflammatory (such as Danilon or Equipalazone) the day before vaccinating, the day of, and the day after may help alleviate any swelling or neck pain that can develop. Alternatively, we can inject your horse with a potent anti-inflammatory on the day and wait 10 minutes prior to vaccinating. Some horses, regardless of what we do, are prone to reacting and developing stiff necks which may cause them to stop eating due to the pain. If this occurs, the vet may recommend performing the vaccine in an alternative area, such as the pectoral region, as this may be tolerated better and shouldn’t impact your horse’s ability to eat.
Importantly, if your horse has previously reacted, please inform us so we can develop a tailored strategy to ensure your horse remains protected against flu and tetanus. All adverse vaccine reactions are reported by our vets to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.