Voltz Equine Veterinarian Jennifer Voltz Equine
Veterinarian Services

Vaccinations should be done on all horses of all ages to prevent disease. Tetanus, Eastern and Western Encephalitis, Flu/ Rhino, and West Nile are required once a year. These are available in several combination vaccines. Intranasal Strangles is also once a year. The West Nile vaccine can be given up to 4 times a year in mosquito infested areas where transmission is very likely. There are other vaccinations available that are not necessary for southern California. If you are traveling with your horse check to make sure your horse is adequately protected.

Tetanus is a deadly disease. It is caused by a clostridium organism that is found in the dirt everywhere and it will enter the skin through any opening in the skin. There is no cure.

Eastern and Western Encephalitis are viruses that infect horses through mosquitoes. This infection hits the brain and is very difficult to treat.

West Nile is also a virus that is passed by mosquitoes and infects the Central Nervous System. Treatment is not always successful.

Flu and Rhino are respiratory diseases. They are both viruses and are passed from horse to horse. Young horses are usually more susceptible. These diseases are generally not life threatening. For owners that move their horses regularly to shows and new places with exposure to lots of horses this vaccine maybe repeated up to four times a year.
*see below under pregnant mares for more information on Rhino

“Strangles” is a bacteria that forms abscesses in the lymph nodes of the jaw and pharynx most commonly. Rarely it can form abscesses in the abdomen. It looks like huge lumps under the jaw that rupture and drip puss. It is passed from horse to horse by nasal discharge and puss, and usually tends to infect younger horses. Other than being highly contagious the horses usually make a full recovery.

“Dryland Distemper”/ “pigeon fever” is also caused by a bacteria that forms abscesses usually in the pectoral (chest) area but can be found anywhere on the body. The bacteria live in the dirt everywhere. It is picked up by flies that bite the horse and the bacteria jump in. There is no vaccine for this disease.

Pregnant mares require a Pneumabort K vaccine at 5, 7, and 9 months of gestation. This is to prevent abortions from the Rhino virus. This vaccine is different from the Rhino found in the combination vaccines. There are different strains of the virus that cause abortions, respiratory disease and neurologic disease. There is no vaccine for the neurologic form.
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