Vaccination is essential to the health of your horse by providing protection against infections in the UK that can cause serious illness.
The horse is the most susceptible of all domestic animals to Tetanus. The causal organism is commonly found in the soil and usually enters the body via wounds, especially deep and penetrating wounds such as those caused by sharp objects penetrating the sole of the hoof. Immediate veterinary attention is essential. The first signs of tetanus are progressive stiffness and a reluctance to move, especially the muscles in the region of the wound or hind limbs. Difficulty in chewing develops with flaring of the nostrils and a classic startled expression. The mortality rate may be as high as 90%; in the few animals that recover there is a convalescent period of around 6 weeks.
Vaccination is quick, simple and highly effective and the only practical means of long-term protection. Vaccination for tetanus can be started at any age from six months onwards. The course consists of two primary injections a month apart followed by a booster vaccination a year later, and thereafter at 2 yearly intervals. Tetanus vaccination is often coupled with the Influenza vaccination. Several pharmaceutical companies produce combinations of the influenza and tetanus vaccine.
Few infectious diseases spread as rapidly as influenza and although fatalities are rare in vaccinated horses they can result in prolonged convalescence causing a highly unpleasant illness and severe disruption of equestrian activities.
For formulation of effective vaccines, it is important to have knowledge of the currently circulating equine influenza virus strains and subtypes.
Influenza was first identified as two strains, H7N7 equine influenza in 1956 (Prague ’56) and H3N8 in 1963 (Miami ’63), which have continually evolved.
There has been no threat in the UK from H7N7 strains for over 30 years, leaving sole focus now on H3N8 strains. The H3N8 strain has evolved into ‘American’ and ‘European’ strains. Although the ‘European’ strain has not been isolated in the UK since 2005. This leaves us to focus on H3N8- American strains which have evolved further into ‘Florida’ Clade1 and Clade 2 strains. It is theses that are deemed to pose a threat to horses in the UK.
The only vaccine currently available in the UK that contains both of these strains is ProteqFlu.
It is for this reason why Beningbrough Equine Veterinary Practice uses ProteqFlu vaccines to protect your horse.
Influenza vaccination (ProteqFlu) can be given on its own or more commonly in combination with Tetanus (ProteqFlu Te).
Recommended Vaccination Scheme
Vaccination against equine influenza and tetanus
Primary vaccination course with ProteqFlu-Te:
- First injection from 5–6 months of age
- Second injection 4-6 weeks later.
- Revaccination from 5 months after primary vaccination course with ProteqFlu-Te.
- Influenza every 6 months and testanus every 2 years.
- Alternating ProteqFlu or ProteqFlu-Te, respecting an interval of maximum 2 years for tetanus
The jockey Club Regulations
The jockey club has strict vaccination requirements which must be complied with to allow your horses entry in to an event.
Horses may not race until the 8th day after the day of vaccination:
- 1st Vaccination
- 2nd Vaccination after 21 to 92 days from 1st Vaccination
- 3rd Vaccination after 150 to 215 from 2nd Vaccination
- Thereafter annually not beyond the same date as the previous year’s vaccination.
FEI Regulations for Influenza
The FEI requirement for influenza vaccination is for a booster at 6 monthly intervals.
It is the legal responsibility of the owner or trainer to ensure that the horse’s vaccination records comply with the regulations of the organisation or show in which they wish to compete.