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Dr. Corey Paradine from Cleveland Equine Clinic in Ravenna, OH, spoke during Big Dee’s Anniversary Event about Horse Vaccinations and what they help prevent. Dr. Paradine is from southern Michigan where she grew up around horses and pursued her education, earning a degree in Animal Science from Michigan State University. She continued to Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and graduated in 2008.
Where do I start?
Horse vaccines are designed to help prevent and lessen the severity of symptoms in known horse diseases. The types of diseases you vaccinate for varies on your location and what your horse may or may not be exposed to. Ultimately, we never know exactly what your horse can come in contact with, so it’s better to err on the side of caution. Most vaccines are given yearly, and often offered in bundles. Most people vaccinate in the Spring before all the mosquitoes come out in full force.
What is common in the Northeast Ohio area?
Eastern Equine Encephalitis
EEE is a fatal neurological disease in horses that is contracted by mosquitoes and has a rapid progression. It effects the brain and nervous system causing the horse to lose coordination, lose the ability to stand and be unable to have normal bodily functions. The vaccine is effective in helping to prevent.
Western Equine Encephalitis
WEE is very similar to EEE, being a neurological disease spread by mosquitoes with rapid progression and painful symptoms. It is a separate strain of virus and therefore classified on its own.
West Nile is similar to the above diseases as it is transmitted by mosquitoes and effects the neurological system. It has a wider range in symptoms; from mild to incredibly severe. Since all three diseases are similar, it is sometimes hard to differentiate between them. The West Nile virus vaccine is effective in helping to prevent the disease.
Tetanus is caused by the bacteria clostridium. Although it is commonly picked up from wounds, it is always in the environment. The symptoms include horrible muscle spasms, hypersensitivity to light and sound and is incredibly painful. If contracted, most horses are euthanized for humane reasons due to the extreme pain and costs to treat. The vaccine is very effective at any time of year.
The Flu and Rhino are two separate diseases, but have some things in common. Both are respiratory viruses and are very contagious. They also are easier to recover from. The main varying symptom is that Rhino can cause abortion in pregnant mares. Since the virus is so contagious, if several pregnant mares are turned out together and one contracts Rhino, the risk is severe in all the horses, and can lead to “abortion storms”. Pregnant mares are encouraged to be boosted every two months with the Rhino vaccine.
Rabies is a neurological disease that is fatal. The only way to test for Rabies is to send the brain of the animal into a lab to confirm, making it difficult to diagnose. Rabies is contracted by the contact of bodily fluids, often seen in bite wounds from infected animals. The vaccine is effective in resisting rabies.
Potomac Horse Fever is a bacterial infection from ingesting mayflies. Though recovery is very possible, the side effect of extreme diarrhea in horses leads to a secondary factor – founder. It is a very costly disease to treat. The vaccine is effective and helps to lessen the symptoms if contracted.
Not all horses are the same
It is encouraged to keep up with routine vaccinations to protect your horse from diseases that can be both painful, and fatal. Dr. Paradine recommends a booster in the Flu/Rhino vaccines for show horses who are exposed to more than horses that spend most of the time in the pasture or trail riding. It is also wise to booster horses travelling to and from new locations (out of state, etc). Keep in mind the age and condition of your horse, if a horse’s immune system is suppressed, the vaccine won’t be as effective. As always, keep a record for your horse, including vaccines, dewormers and general health care.
Disclaimer: This seminar was given at Big Dee’s Anniversary Event. All content provided by Dr. Paradine on Big Dee’s blog is for informational purposes only. Big Dee’s will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.