Does anyone have any thoughts about what makes a horse a canidate to forgo vaccines? I know a number of people on this board have experience with horses that have had reactions both minor and severe to vaccines.
If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.
You have to decide if the risks from the vaccine are worse than the risks related to the disease. We live in an area where there are lots of rabid raccoons. We are extremely diligent about giving our horses rabies vaccine, and would give it even if they got local swelling from the vaccines or other minor reactions. Rabies is a serious problem, and a rabid horse would mean a dead horse and lots of people needing thousands of dollars worth of rabies immune globulin and vaccines.
In contrast, we do not give botulism vaccine to our horses. We don't feed round bales, so our risk is relatively low. Therefore, I am not willing to take the small chance of having a horse have a reaction to the vaccine.
The AAEP lists several vaccines as "core" vaccines that they think every horse should get. www.aaep.org. Beyond that, it all depends on where you live, what you do with your horse, and your personal preferences. Eventually, we may all be able to have blood titers checked on our horses so we don't have to give some vaccines as frequently.
My 6 month old filly has minor swelling when vaccinated, but I still do it. I live in FL, where the risk of mosquito-borne diseases is very high. Even though they don't leave my property at the moment, mosquitos do. We also have a higher rate of rabies than the northern states tend to, so that is not optional either.
I also do not to botulism because I feel it is not worth the cost and risk. But I do vaccinate for strangles (though I will wait until my vet is there just in case on my filly).
I have known a horse who had severe reactions, like not breathing and going into shock, and she was never vaccinated after that.
I have a mare who got purpura from strangles. On my vet's recommendation, she is vaccinated for tetanus only. Tetanus I won't mess with.
Rabies vaccines are not given in my area, as a rule. Not recommended by my vet or other local vets. I was wishy-washy on West Nile until Prevenile came out -- it is VERY safe and reaction-free. The others (flu/rhino) I am not really in favor of, but I have never had bad reactions so I do them based on whether the horse will be exposed to lots of other horses and "germs".
Never a strangles vaccine for my crew.
In short, weigh the risks FOR YOUR AREA, research the vaccine options, and make an educated decision.
Arrange whatever pieces come your way. - Virginia Woolf
Did you know that if you say the word "GULLIBLE" really softly, it sounds like "ORANGES"?
Where we live, I'm too scared not to give WNV and the three encephalomyelitis ones. The vaccines scare me, too, because I've seen some pretty awful reactions, but none were fatal. OTOH, a farm not a half mile from me lost two horses to EEE a year or so ago. And it seems like every summer the paper has at least one story about some person coming down with it. So I guess it's fairly common.
I did a little research on antibody titres, but I think I remember reading that titres aren't well-correlated with immunity in horses (unlike dogs). So I just cross my fingers and have Dr. Mathews shoot mine.
Why do you ask? I hope nothing's happened to one of yours?
Vaccination is one of the greatest advances in both individual and public health care of all time. Through it we have eradicated, or virtually eradicated, diseases that used to kill and cripple millions of people each year. And kill and cripple millions of horses every year. Diseases that were pandemic at the beginning of the the 20th Century are, today, just footnotes in history books. The present concerns often seem to ignore this fundamental reality.
When you choose to forego vaccination you put your individual horse at risk AND you put at risk all other horses within the vacinity at risk.
IMO a refusal to vaccinate, unless based upon a clearly defined medical or veterinary foundation, is an act of serious irresponsibility.
I don't mind minor swelling, even people can expect those after shots. Fortunately that is all I have dealt with. However, I do know someone that lost a horse recently due to a reaction to a WNV vaccine. My horses don't leave the farm much, but I do have one boarder who takes hers off to get shod and do clinics now again so I'm going to think hard about the ones that I really need. Typically I do WNV, EWT and Flu/Rhino 2x a year, and rabies 1x a year. I feel the basic ones to be pretty safe.
You have to weigh the advantages of vaccinating against the disadvantages of reaction to a vaccine.
I stopped doing strangles IN when I moved my horses home - they became a small, controlled population so chance of contracting was greatly lessened.
I do Flu-Rhino because I feel it's needed, same for PHF, EPM and 3-way (EE/EW/&? - sorry, no mind today)
I added rabies vaccine after having an almost-resident skunk in my barn. not to mention numerous "guest" raccoons and opossums.
And I continue with the vaccine each Spring even though my TWH had an unpleasant reaction after the first round. We just do his shot in his hip instead of the neck.
I do West Nile (& booster) because the virus has been identified in horses in my area.
All changes are discussed with my vet and given his approval.
He even told me that this year the rabies vaccine has been added as recommended in my area and joshed me that my name was listed in the Journal of Veterinary Medicine as a contributor
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009 Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
This is a topic I've been giving a lot of thought to myself, and unfortunately it's near impossible to do any real research. You can't get vaccinosis reports anywhere, and if you try to discuss adverse vaccine reactions with a professional they look at you like you have three heads and give you a lecture about being irresponsible.
I used to go along pretty much blindly with all of it until my gelding had a nasty reaction to the Fort Dodge rabies vaccine. Then after I had my daughter, I also started doing more research because of the groups who were claiming a link between vaccination and autism (which I do not believe exists). Having said that, I am now in the camp who feels that while vaccines may be one of the greatest health advances of our time, they are significantly overused and not without major downsides.
Like I said, my biggest problem with this issue is that you can't do any real research because the companies will never make known their adverse event reports, and vets will never tell you anything other than vaccinate.
I am one of the people on this board with a horse that has had terrible reactions to vaccines. I have a 6 year old gelding andalusian x tb that gets severe hives from injected vaccines. Our vet has advised us to NOT vaccinate by injection as he feels the risk of him dying from the vaccination is greater than the risk of him possibly getting the disease and dying. The last time he was vaccinated was 2 years ago and we titered him this fall. The titers showed no protection, so this is pretty scary for me and my trainer. We really feel like we are between a rock and a hard spot....All my other horses receive yearly vaccinations.
This is interesting to me because I have the same questions. After years of having very little problems with vaccines, this year I had several. I had a gelding who could not lower his head for two day from a Triple EFT shot. He wasn't swollen, just couldn't lower or turn his head. I also had a filly who had some sort of odd reaction that showed up in her hooves. I had read that some shots could bring on laminitis. She never went lame but these odd horizontal cracks formed on all 4 feet. General timeline told us whatever happened was around the time she had the vaccine. This single crack that was on all four feet went pretty much all the way around. I had xrays pulled and they were perfect. When she finally sloughed off the hoof from the crack down I managed to get a good look at what happened. The hoofwall at that crackline was completely separated from the whiteline and not being held on by anything. Here are some pics of her two front hooves about 2 months after the initial line showed up. Thank heavens she has extremely fast growing hooves (even before I put her on a strong Biotin supplement). It took about 5 months to grow the whole hoof out but it worried me to death the whole time. I had two farriers tell me she had foundered but xrays showed no signs of any rotation at all (and I had them pulled on all 4 feet). Even speculating it was related to the vaccine is still speculation, but there's nothing else that changed in her life but that. The gelding that couldn't lower his neck also showed bruising in all 4 feet as well. Though he never developed these cracks.
I have heard bad things about Fort Dodge shots being more prone to causing reactions. Something about the carrier agent in them. I will never use that brand again after this year My horses never set foot off of our property so I try to get by with as little as possible while still keeping them safe. I don't give WNV, but if they have made a safer one I will need to look into that. I gave it 3 years ago and worried the whole time about reactions. Tetanus is a must for my accident proned kids.
PA, where the State motto is: "If it makes sense, we don't do it!".
and vets will never tell you anything other than vaccinate.
I respectfully disagree with this statement.... When I adopted my pony and asked about vaccinating him my vet (whom I trust explicitly--he was at least a second generation horseman) told me not to bother vaccinating for strangles because of my pony's age; we didn't do any of the other shots either, except for rabies and tetanus. So, not all of them automatically want to give you the whole series of shots--it depends on whether you are in a "closed" herd, the age of the animal, what diseases are turning up in your area and many other variables.
My feeling is--any vet worth his/her salt will not foist unneccesary shots on you (or your horse). This is when it pays to know what is going on around you, what is available out there in the way of shots (the Internet can be your friend) and hanging around an equine bulletin board can often aid you in making a decision. No, the vets won't always know what the reactions are to certain shots but you can bet your bottom dollar that the folks on the equine bulletin boards are going to be talking about it! Bad news travels the fastest in the horse world! If you don't trust your vet to give you good advice--get a new vet, or educate yourself and learn how to say, "No thanks!"....
Just remember--vaccinating your horse does not ensure your horse will not become ill from the disease it was immunized against! It just means that it might not get so sick that it dies.... There are many strains of certain diseases and most vaccines only cover certain strains....
"Marriage is like a deck of cards--it starts with two hearts and a diamond and after a while you wish you had a club and a spade." ~seen on an anniversary card~