Tetanus & Influenza Vaccination For Horse & Ponies

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 Tetanus & Influenza   2
     Vaccination For   3
     Horse & Ponies
Prevention is ultimately better than cure and inoculation can provide horses
with immunity against commonly occurring debilitating infections.The princi-
ple of all vaccinations is to initiate a course of injections followed by ‘booster’
doses at various intervals, depending on the type of vaccine and the
immunity provided.
It is advisable to vaccinate all horses and     movements or noise are heightened, caus-
ponies against commonly occurring dis-          ing more violent, general spasms. The tem-
eases, such as TETANUS & INFLUENZA.             perature may rise to 43∞C (110∞F).

The horse is the most susceptible of all        Regular vaccination of ALL horses and
domestic animals to TETANUS. The causal         ponies, against TETANUS, is absolutely
organism (the bacterium Clostridium             essential.The mortality rate may be as high
tetani) is commonly found in the soil and       as 90%; in the few animals that recover
may be present in horses’ faeces. It usually    there is a convalescent period of around 6
enters the body via wounds, especially deep     weeks.
and penetrating wounds such as those
caused by sharp objects penetrating the         Vaccination is quick, simple and highly effec-
sole of the hoof.                               tive and the only practical means of long-
                                                term protection. Permanent vaccination
Deep puncture wounds provide an ideal           with tetanus toxoid can be started at any
site for infection. The TETANUS organism        age from three months onwards. The
only thrives in an environment deprived of      course consists of two primary injections
oxygen which is characteristic of this type     given approximately four weeks apart, fol-
of wound. You must call your veterinary         lowed by a booster vaccination a year later,
surgeon immediately if your horse has a         and thereafter at 2- 5 yearly intervals.
deep penetrating wound. The vet may
administer either tetanus antitoxin or a        In addition to vaccination, good hygiene and
booster dose of vaccine, depending on           management will help in minimising the risk
when your horse was last vaccinated.            of infection. Regular inspection of hooves
Only rarely will veterinary treatment save      and the lower limbs for cuts will assist in
an animal, once signs of infection becomes      spotting potential sites where tetanus may
apparent, but immediate veterinary atten-       enter. Clearing yards, paddocks and stables
tion is essential. The usual incubation peri-   of likely causes of injury (especially barbed
od for tetanus is one to three weeks, the       wire) is important, to reduce the risk of
first signs being progressive stiffness and a   injury, together with routine disinfection of
reluctance to move. Muscles in the region       the premises.
of the wound or hind limbs are normally
first to be affected. Spasms of the head        Pregnant mares are often given a TETANUS
muscles cause difficulty in chewing (hence      booster in the later stages of pregnancy
the common name, ‘lockjaw’), flaring of the     (usually in the eleventh month).This there-
nostrils and a classic startled expression.     by increases the antibodies available in the
The ears may be erect, the tail held out and    colostrum (first milk), protecting the foal
the animal’s reflex reactions to sudden         for approximately six weeks. To supple-
ment this many foals are given a tetanus        longer. Although you may not detect it, the
antitoxin soon after birth providing tempo-     cough will probably have been preceded by
rary cover of three to four weeks. A fur-       a rise in temperature for 1-3 days from the
ther dose can be given at four weeks.           normal 38∞C (100.5∞F) to 41∞C (106∞F).
                                                Initially there will be a clear discharge from
TETANUS vaccination is often coupled            the nostrils, which later becomes thick and
with the INFLUENZA vaccination. Several         purulent.
pharmaceutical companies produce combi-
nations of the influenza and tetanus vac-       Equine ‘FLU debilitates a horse or pony,
cine.                                           leaving it susceptible to secondary infec-
                                                tions. Influenza can develop into bronchitis
EQUINE INFLUENZA (‘FLU) is a highly             or bacterial pneumonia. However, even
contagious, viral disease of the respiratory    when there are no complications from any
tract. The first sign which you are likely to   secondary infections, the animal will need
notice is a harsh, dry cough which will last    to be rested for at least 3 weeks and often
for 2-3 weeks and may well persist much         considerably longer.
1.   Each horse MUST have a VALID vacci-           The only practical way to prevent infection
     nation certificate, which undeniably          with equine ‘flu viruses is to ask the vet to
     relates to that horse, completed, signed      vaccinate your horse or pony regularly.
     and stamped on each line by a veteri-         There are several ‘flu vaccines available.
     nary surgeon, who is not the owner of         Different strains and sub-types of influenza
     the animal.                                   viruses occur, the two main types being
                                                   A/Equi 1 and A/Equi 2. This vaccine covers
2.   The record must show that the horse           against the commonly occurring strains of
     has received TWO injections for PRI-          influenza. However, it should be remem-
     MARY vaccination against equine               bered that influenza viruses vary periodical-
     influenza given no less than 21 DAYS          ly and are subject to a phenomenon known
     and no more than 92 DAYS apart.               as antigenic drift. Such variations may result
     (Only these first two injections need to      in a breakdown in immunity.
     have been given before the horse may
     compete).                                     Vaccination against INFLUENZA is highly
3.   In addition, a first BOOSTER injection        effective and is now mandatory for all hors-
     must be given no less than 150 days           es using racecourse premises. The vaccina-
     and no more than 215 days after the           tion requirements are strict and tightly
     second primary injection.                     enforced. It is also advisable to vaccinate all
                                                   horses that regularly encounter large
4.   Subsequently, BOOSTER injections              groups of unfamiliar horses, for example
     must be given at intervals of not more        hunters.
     than 1 year apart, commencing after
     the first booster injection.                  INFLUENZA vaccinations are also compul-
                                                   sory for many competition horses. It is
5.   None of these injections must be given        important to note that many associations
     within the preceding 7 days, including        and show organisers insist on all horses
     the day of competition or entry into          holding current vaccination record cards.
     the competition stables.                      (See Rules for Competitions given above)

An infected horse is itself a source of infec-     Allowing regular ‘flu booster vaccinations
tion to others and it is important to make         to lapse leaves your horse open to infection
every effort to isolate infected animals.The       which could lead to permanent damage and
incubation period for the disease is only 1-       is a contributory factor to fresh epidemics.
5 days and, with horses remaining infectious       It will also incur additional expense for the
for 6-10 days after the onset of clinical          owner that could be avoided. With the
signs, it is easy to see how rapidly equine ‘flu   strict rules laid down by the various gov-
takes hold.                                        erning bodies in the horse world, it will be
                                                   necessary to start a completely new vacci-
It is essential that your veterinary surgeon’s     nation regime, even if just one booster is
advice is sought, not just at the onset of         missed or is late - even by just one day.
symptoms but also before restarting exer-
Horses are subject to numerous infections       Always contact your veterinary surgeon if
that may cause coughing and a nasal dis-        your horse shows any signs of infection.
charge. Just as human colds and other           Failure to get a definitive diagnosis could
infections may be incorrectly diagnosed as      leave your horse, and others, at risk of
‘flu, equine ‘flu also has its mimics. ‘The     complications.To assist with diagnosis your
cough’ or ‘the virus’ are terms often heard     veterinary surgeon may send swabs or
but usually refer to causes other than          blood samples to a laboratory.
equine ‘flu. For instance, many respiratory
problems in the horse are due to equine         Contact your veterinary surgeon for fur-
herpes viruses and not ‘flu viruses.            ther advice about vaccination, before it’s
                                                too late - it’s the responsible thing to do.
Many stud owners will require proof of vac-
cination before they allow a mare onto the      Modern veterinary science has developed
premises. A vaccine is available to help pro-   preventive medicine that is effective, con-
tect against EHV-1 abortion and the             sidering the investment you have in your
Horserace Betting Levy Board’s Code of          animals and their surroundings it is
Practice recommends vaccination of preg-        relatively inexpensive.
nant mares. Seek advice from your veteri-
nary surgeon if you are considering putting
a mare in foal.

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB)         Arteritis (EVA), Contagious Equine Metritis
has produced                                    (CEM) and other equine bacterial venereal
Codes of Practice with the aim of prevent-      diseases.
ing the spread of
equine infectious reproductive diseases:        Copies of the Codes are available (on
                                                receipt of an A4 S.A.E.), from the HBLB or
Equid Herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1), Equine Viral       the BHS Welfare Department.
Welfare Department
The British Horse Society
Stoneleigh Deer Park
Warks CV8 2XZ
Tel: (01926) 707807 Fax: (0192) 707800

This leaflet was produced in conjunction with:
The Home Of Rest For Horses
Westcroft Stables, Speen Farm,
Slad Lane, Princes Risborough, Bucks, HP27 0PP
Tel: (01494) 488464 Fax: (01494) 488767
Registered Charity no: 231748

Published by B.H.S.Welfare Department, 2004

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Description: Tetanus & Influenza Vaccination For Horse & Ponies