We can help you to keep on top of your horse's vaccinations

Keeping up to date with vaccination requirements can be tedious, however regular vaccinations ensure your horse is maximally protected against infectious diseases in the UK that can cause serious, and sometimes fatal, disease.

  • Vaccines contain antigens that are altered slightly so that they resemble certain diseases without causing the actual disease. This allows the horses immune system to encounter the antigen and mount a response, developing antibodies that fight the ‘infection’. This means the immune system is primed for when a true infection happens and can produce a much faster and stronger response. This reduces the risk of disease outbreaks, reduces the spread of disease between animals, and prevents or helps reduce the severity of clinical signs in each horse.

  • It is strongly recommended in the UK that all equines are vaccinated against equine influenza (flu) and tetanus. There is now an effective vaccine for Strangle (Streptococcus Equi) which has been shown to reduce disease and help prevent outbreaks of this disease. For breeding stock, mares can be vaccinated against rotavirus and equine herpesvirus and stallions can be vaccinated against equine viral arteritis.

  • This will depend on what you are vaccinating for, but most commonly it will involve flu and tetanus.


    A primary course will encompass 2 flu/tetanus injections given between 21 and 92 days apart, with a 3rd flu only booster administered 150-215 days after the 2nd injection. After the 3rd injection, booster vaccines are required to maintain immunity- once a year for flu and every other year for tetanus.


    For Strangles, there are 2 injections 4-6 weeks apart, followed by a 3rd vaccine at 6 months and then annual boosters thereafter.

  • The requirements will vary depending on which sporting governing body you compete under, and are constantly being reviewed, so it is worth keeping up to date with your respective organisation.


    All governing bodies at a minimum require annual booster vaccination of flu/tetanus after a suitable primary course has been performed. Some organisations may require strict 6 monthly flu boosters whilst others may require a booster within 6 months of competing.

  • Yes!


    Equine flu can travel up to 5km in favourable conditions, so your horse can still become infected, even if they don’t leave the yard.


    Strangles circulates widely throughout the horse population without causing clinical disease, allowing it to be easily passed on under the right conditions.


    Tetanus is caused by a bacterium that is found in the soil throughout the UK. If contracted by horses, tetanus is nearly always fatal, and is only preventable via vaccination.

  • Pregnant mares and stallions should be routinely vaccinated with flu and tetanus as above.


    Pregnant mares should be vaccinated with rotavirus at 8, 9, and 10 months of gestation. Vaccination with equine herpesvirus should be done at 5, 7, and 9 months of gestation.


    Please contact us to discuss EVA vaccination in stallions.

  • Vaccines for flu, tetanus, and strangles can be started at 6 months of age.

  • We recommend obtaining a booster vaccine as soon as possible and discussing with our vets if a full restart is required or not. If competing and your vaccines are over 365 days, the primary course will need to be restarted.

  • 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.

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