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Vaccinations/worming = threat to horse health?

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  • Vaccinations/worming = threat to horse health?

    Sorry I don't come here often but have a question/concern that I would like to hear opinions on-

    I have 3 dogs and about 5 years ago - when I got my beloved Giant Schnauzer- the breeder made me sign a contract whereby the dog was not to receive vaccinations beyond 2 years of age and only got wormed if there was indication of the need for it.
    Recently I got into a semi-argument with my equine vet about vaccinations- as she likes to do every 3 month a whole battery of shots. To top it off - I recently consulted a quite well respected healer on the health level of my horse- and she confirmed that he had unnecessary liver strain- due to over vaccination.
    I since have researched the topic and would like to know if there are folks out there that feel alike and have recommendations.
    Specifically I would like know about

    -organic wormers
    -required vaccinations vs. commonly assumed necessary vaccinations
    -any research in regards to cushings and over vaccinations
    -validity of titres to proove that sufficient antibodies are present to protect the horse.

    Thank you all in advance for contributing.
    "the man mite be the head but the woman is the neck and the neck can turn the head any way she wants..." -smart greek woman

  • #2
    I could go on a bit about this subject. At my advanced age (55), I am becoming a convert to holistic horsekeeping as a supplement to my (wonderful) equine vet. I am lucky to live in Austin, where we have a highly respected vet/guru. I highly recommend her website, holistichorsekeeping.com for discussions of your questions.

    My personal take on holistic approaches is that you cannot learn too much about nutrition. And supplements and herbs are drugs, so we should not just throw them in the feed bucket without educating ourselves what they are.

    I am a far cry from not worming or vaccinating, but I will say that I am struggling with a horse that developed headshaking after a flu/rhino vaccination. I am investigating whether it was the particular brand or type of vaccination, and if not, whether I should only do that vaccination in response to titer levels, not "just because".
    Last edited by ToTheNines; Dec. 30, 2007, 10:18 AM.
    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


    • #3
      my mare coliced and almost died right after getting West Nile shot in 2006. I did not give that shot this year, although I was concerned and nervous not to. There is no way I would give shots every 3 months. That sounds excessive to me.

      I de-worm w/ ivermectin 3x Rotectin 1x, but would not feed daily dewormer and would not use Quest. I tried the 5 day Panacur one year, and will not be doing that again either. Mostly because by the 3rd day, the horses ran away from me

      my horsey peeps think I'm nuts and reckless. I do not give my horses lots of vitamins, supplements, BOSS, paprika, garlic, seaweed, mushroom or anything other than selenium (oregon is lacking), lovely hay, a little grain mix, and fresh clean water. Less is more.

      they are in fine flesh. their coats gleam like new money.


      • #4
        I could go on about this subject, too.

        You have to consider, in EACH AND EVERY health-based decision you make for you or your loved ones, RISK VS. BENEFIT.

        Parasites were once an enormous problem for horses, causing innumerable colics and other health issues.

        Same for communicable diseases. Although we don't have ideal vaccinations for every disease or even ANY vaccines for many diseases, the ones we have are by and large SAFE. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule and you will ALWAYS hear those tales loudly and clearly. The vast, enormous majority of people who vaccinate regularly and have no problems whatsoever RARELY speak up.

        Ever seen a dog die of parvovirus? I have. NOT pretty. Completely preventable.

        Ever seen the aorta of a horse that died from dissection due to strongyles? HORRIBLE sight.

        Some of these things are SO RARE nowadays, because of proper prevention. We have short memories...kids used to DIE of measles, pertussis and other horrible childhood diseases, most of which have been all but eradicated due to vaccination.

        BY ALL MEANS, do your homework. You have to decide what's right for you and your animals. But if you'd take one piece of advice from someone who clearly is on "one side" of the argument and makes no apologies for it, PLEASE PLEASE consider the source of the information you gather. Especially on topics like this, there is an AWFUL lot of bullsh*t out there!
        Click here before you buy.


        • #5
          Of possible interest here is a link to a discussion we had a while ago about this on horseshoes.http://www.horseshoes.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2623 I think it good to be not 100% trusting of these things. Not for human or veterinary medicine. There really is a lot to this, check out www.tetrahedron.org


          • #6
            I don't know about CA, but in MD I think it would be problematic not to have your dog vaccinated regularly for rabies, unless it never left your property. I would never in a million years sign a release like that for ANY animal.


            • #7
              George, you ARE joking, right? RIGHT?

              From the "tetrahedron" site, I give you this:

              According to Dr. Horowitz’s latest of sixteen books, Da Vinci’s most famous drawing, “The Vitruvian Man,” is a cryptograph providing “Divine direction” for advancing technologies crucial for civilization’s evolution.
              Dr. Leonard Horowitz provides an unparalleled peek into the Creator’s technology. He unearths compelling scientific evidence of your spiritual existence, and gives practical advice for your success as a powerful co-creator.
              In this riveting presentation, Dr. Leonard Horowitz relays more than a decade of his research evidencing nefarious tinkering with microbial, plant, animal, and human biology befitting a massive conspiracy to place profits before people and population control before compassionate medicine. Dr. Horowitz presents solid proof that the most powerful industry on earth—the petrochemical–pharmaceutical cartel—aided by corruption, greed, and incompetence by officials in government, scientific organizations, and academic institutions, has seriously endangered the life and health of myriad forms on this chemically and pharmaceutically beleaguered planet.
              WOAH, baby! Cue the "Twilight Zone" music!

              This is a BEAUTIFUL example of what I mean by CONSIDER THE SOURCE. Wow....somebody is smoking something SERIOUSLY powerful over there.
              Click here before you buy.


              • #8
                Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                This is a BEAUTIFUL example of what I mean by CONSIDER THE SOURCE. Wow.
                His credentials are excellent. He's testified before congress on these matters and has been researching this issue for many years. His education is from Harvard and not Middleham. How much more qualified would you like him to be?


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by Avra View Post
                  I don't know about CA, but in MD I think it would be problematic not to have your dog vaccinated regularly for rabies, unless it never left your property. I would never in a million years sign a release like that for ANY animal.
                  Sorry about that- Rabies is not excluded from her list. She requires a titre for everything else- which is totally doable on a dog because it's not very expensive.
                  "the man mite be the head but the woman is the neck and the neck can turn the head any way she wants..." -smart greek woman


                  • #10
                    Sabine - I can see where you are coming from questioning how many vaccinations your horse might need. My guy had a serious reaction to a vaccine, finally through process of elimination, we were able to figure out that it was rhino. Each time he has gotten the vaccine, even when premedicated, his reaction has been worse than the time before. Needless to say, he will no longer get this vaccine.

                    You might take into account how much traffic is at your barn. Do you have a lot of horses coming in and out, do you go to a lot of shows. What type of exposure does your horse get to other animals?

                    I personally am not real big on the daily wormer but I do believe in worming bimonthly.


                    • #11
                      You have to consider, in EACH AND EVERY health-based decision you make for you or your loved ones, RISK VS. BENEFIT.
                      I had two horses react very badly to WNV vax the second year it was available, the year after loosing a horse to Quest. Those two events started me on my (continuing) journey to educate myself. Around the same time a very, very large APHA breeder I was peripherally associated with via my partner farm had an abortion storm related to vaccination. It confirmed for me I was on the right track.

                      I think you are asking excellent questions, and there is certainly middle ground between NO vaccinations and NO deworming and the dispensing of Vax and wormers as routine.

                      I do 'minimal' vax and worming. And then spend probably a similar amount of time and $$ creating an environment that lends towards health. Minimum host sites for parasites, (manure management in pastures) full turnout, healthy guts, etc.

                      I wish I had more cites for you. They are out there. Particularly the newer studies showing vaccinations last longer than we originally thought.

                      For many though, prevention is about convenience, and plentiful and often vaccines and deworming on a tight schedule are far more convenient than the type of prevention that takes time and effort that can be very lacking in folk's lives. That's a choice too. Just not my choice any more.
                      InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                      Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                      • #12
                        Hey Sabine!

                        I do think we, as a society, have gotten trained to just do it. Just do the vaccines, just do the deworming, just do it without thought put into it. After years of rehabbing horses, here are my collective thoughts on it, or as much as I can collect after only one cup of coffee

                        Deworming: IMO deworming is done too often and not effectively enough (how many times have you seen someone put a single tube of Ivermectin down the throat of a 17h, 1500 lb horse? The tube is for 1100 lbs...) . All of the factors have to be considered, of course.. pasture management, deworming history, the deworming history of your horses friends, where they go, etc. An interesting thing was the study done that showed that some horses seem to carry a heavy worm load in spite of our best efforts. I think those horses need to be identified and dewormed appropriately. I have had a few of them and when I tell people the schedule I put them on, their eyes bug out but it worked in the end. So I guess what I am saying is.. some horses need the HELL dewormed out of them and some do fine on a light rotational schedule. I do view a yearly PP as essential and I always will. The older horses that I rehab who have NOT had them, have issues that the other horses simply do not. Appparently encysted strongyles ARE the AntiChrist. Further research has got me doing a double Anthelcide (by weight) two weeks after the PP is finished. The results speak for themselves.

                        So for the "normal" horse I recommend a PP once a year, followed by a double Anthelcide in two weeks. Then 8 weeks later, a double Ivermectin, followed by a Prizantqutal (sp?!!!) product, 6-8 weeks later a double Strongid, 8 weeks later a double Ivermectin, 8 weeks later a Moxidectin product, rinse and repeat. For a horse who is obviously carrying a heavy wormload, I would add a double Ivermectin and a double Strongid in between the Prazanquital and the Moxidectin. I would consider a double Prazantuital if the horse showed any symptoms of neck worms I would do this until the condition I was treating them for was resolved.

                        It is interesting and important to remember that horses have parasites other than in their digestive tract. I sat down with a parasitology book while tending a colic one night at the vets office and I was totally blown away by the creepies in their bodies that we are not even aware of. I am convinced that parasites are one of the factors in IR and metabolic disorders, along with a host of other behavioral issues.

                        Vaccinations: I am a lot more paranoid about vaccinations than dewormers I think one important thing to remember about them is that they should never be given to a horse that is stressed or has a weakened immune system. IR and metabolic horses should not be vaccinated as they have a tendency for their immune system to overreact and I have seen more than one horse suffer thru this. It can be fatal, and the side effects of the treatment (steroids) for an IR horse can be fatal. So it's simply not worth it in those horses.

                        I tend to vaccinate the young horses on a much stricter schedule than the older, and I do use the live rhino vaccination and have without issue in healthy horses. As the horse ages I stop giving the whole run of them and start giving them only what I think they may need. I do them myself so I can split them up and I NEVER give more than one at at time. The exception is Tetnus/E & WT, as the tetnus has been shown to boost the efficacy of the E & W.


                        It is important to remember that I deal with horses who are screwed up physically, and that I see the worst of most things here. I will never be able to say what thing is the "thing" that fixes them up, because I have a moral and ethical obligation to not experiment in a way that might cause the horse to fail. But my gut feeling is that it is the strict deworming that is the biggest factor. I think people do their horses a HUGE disservice by underdeworming, or waiting until the horse is showing symptoms of a big worm load to PowerPack. Damage has been done by then, and it may or may not be fixable. Gut damage from encysted strongyles is a big problem to cure, and from what I am seeing, it takes years, not weeks after the deworming. IMO horses really start to show the effects of ineffective deworming processes when they get to be 11,12,13 years old. They fall apart. The horses that we have who have been properly dewormed and managed from babyhood, don't.
                        "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                        • #13
                          Are there any studies out there showing titer levels? I vaccinate for West Nile, EEE etc 2X a year, but always wonder if it's really necessary. Do horses just have weak immune systems?


                          • #14
                            Depends some on where you live....

                            Here you get parvo every 6 months till the dog's an adult. Used to be every 6 months period, then they found out that adults didn't get it as easily. The others are once per year....In adults a couple are every other year, now, but I don't remember which ones.

                            Lots of people vacc for rabies here.

                            We're also one of the West Nile capitals....we do WN for the horses every 6 months because there's never a time of year where we don't have mosquitoes. EVERYBODY worms regularly (the Gulf Coast is really a swamp in disguise, plus there's not enough turn out to not get parasite loads in the paddocks).

                            Having said that - the only thing that I've heard of given every 3 months is flu/rhino to horses that are competing a LOT.


                            • #15
                              I worm my horse once a year (whether he needs it or not). My vet boards his horses where I do and we discuss this regularly. We do regular fecals and my horse lives in his own big paddock. I don't graze him by the manure pile (which I did as a younger horsewoman).
                              A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton


                              • #16
                                Eqtrainer - I really liked your post. One of the reasons I do not like the daily wormer is I see too many people give the same amount to each horse regardless of weight. Chances are someone is getting under wormed. I can't understand how people can not know how much (or at least have a ball park figure) their horses weigh. Yes, horses loose and gain weight but a responsible owner should have an idea, worming is done by weight (and most other medications for that matter).

                                If I had my horses at my own place and could manage the pastures effectively I might consider another worming schedule. Now they are in an environment where they come into contact with a lot of other horses so this is not an option.


                                • #17
                                  I use de-wormers and vaccinations, never had a problem


                                  Like some one else mentioned, horses live MUCH longer lives now that we have dewormers and vaccinations available.

                                  I have seen a horse die of tetanus, HORRIBLE site.. could have been prevented by a $12 vac.

                                  I have seen a horse die of the flu... also horrible, and the poor little girl...had to watch her horse die over the course of several weeks (despite intensive care).

                                  I de-worm and vaccinate pretty religously. I have for the 20 years I have owned horses. And not once have I had any sort of "reaction" and my horses have been very healthy. Knock on wood I have not had a single sickness or colic.

                                  The exception being a bout with strangles (before there was an inter-nasal vac.), luckily it didn't turn to some thing like bastard strangles and the horse recovered fine. Now I vaccinate for strangles.

                                  (that said, I don't do "power packs" I don't use tape worm de-wormers -not a problem in my area, and have heard about too many reactions-)
                                  APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                                  • #18
                                    Does anyone know how often aneurysm is connected to parasites? Does this show on necropsy?

                                    Eqtrainer, great post. I have always worried about de-worming -- I always got the sense it wasn't enough, or that I was going blind. My youngsters got daily dewormer until they went for training at 5 -- if there were any parasites I'm sure they were resistent to Strongid by then. (The horses also got Ivermectin and Ivermectin Gold 3 or 4 times a year.) I gave up doing manure checks because they were always clean and after reading about how much it can miss, depending on what is being shed out at the time, it felt rather futile.

                                    They have been on a 8 week schedule in the last 2 years.

                                    We're going to the NCSU symposium in Feb -- it will be interesting to hear what Dr. Menigo has to say.


                                    • #19
                                      George, what are his credentials, exactly? Lots of people have college degrees. He is a conspiracy theorist.

                                      He has testified before congress on WHICH issue? Anthrax conspiracies, Intelligent Design, Autism epidemics, AIDS conspiracies, or the apocalypse?

                                      He's a NUT JOB. Caveat emptor.

                                      grayarabpony, here is a citation:

                                      Ischaemic myocardial fibrosis and aortic strongylosis in the horse.

                                      Cranley JJ, McCullagh KG.
                                      The hearts and aortas of 2076 unselected horses of all ages were examined immediately after slaughter. Focal zones of fibrosis, observed in the myocardium of 14.3 per cent of hearts examined, were found in both atria and ventricles and were unrelated to age. Microscopically the majority of lesions involved myocardial fibre lysis and replacement fibrosis, although acute infarction was present in some cases. Intramyocardial arterioles in or adjacent to the lesions exhibited occlusive arteriosclerotic changes whereas those elsewhere remained patent. The evidence strongly suggests that the myocardial lesions were ischaemic in origin and related to the distribution of intramyocardial arteriosclerosis. Nodular fibrous plaques and mural thrombi associated with migrating larvae of Strongylus vulgaris were observed in the thoracic aorta of 9.4 per cent of horses. These intimal lesions were often present in the aortic bulb and proximal 10 cm of the thoracic aorta indicating that larval migration in this zone is common. Statistical analysis revealed a highly significant association between the occurrence of proximal aortic S vulgaris lesions and the presence of focal ischaemic lesions in the myocardium. The association was not the result of direct larval damage but appeared to be caused by microembolisation from parasitic lesions in the proximal aorta, producing obstructive arteriosclerotic lesions in myocardial arterioles.
                                      Click here before you buy.


                                      • #20
                                        Some great posts thus far.

                                        As another thought....

                                        When you are educated regarding disease and parasites, diagnostics, and treatment, you can choose the path that makes the most sense.

                                        However, many of the "protocols" out there exist because MOST PEOPLE are NOT educated, don't WANT to be educated, and don't WANT to do the diagnostics. They want to do as much as they can on their own as cheaply as they can. In that regard, having a protocol for deworming every X weeks and vaccinating X times a year is safer for the overall population.

                                        At our veterinary clinic, we offered titers in lieu of just following the vaccine protocol. But very few people utilized that option. Why? Because it often required two visits. One to draw the blood, then one to come in and vaccinate as needed. It was easier for people to just vaccinate.

                                        Fecals? Same thing. There's not much of a way to get around a trip to the vet's office for a fecal unless you want to invest in a microscope, slide, fecal cups, and fecasol, know what you're looking for and do them yourself. It's a $10 test. But most folks would rather just deworm.

                                        So...if you're committed to going a little out of your way to become educated, do the diagnostics and testing, and then make your deworming and vaccination choices accordingly, I'm all for it! But if you're not, sticking to the standard protocol is a lot safer for all of us.

                                        Choosing NOT to do the diagnostics AND choosing NOT to vaccinate or deworm puts the rest of us at risk. You're essentially riding the coattails of all the others who ARE vaccinating or deworming and in some cases, putting both your horse and ours at risk.

                                        Much like the measles argument. Why vaccinate? It's gone. Well, if we all discontinue vaccination, methinks it will be back.

                                        As far as the reactions people mention--it's most often the adjuvant that causes a reaction. Ft. Dodge in particular had some problems with serious reactions due to the adjuvant they were using in a WNV vaccine a few years ago. Again, understanding more about the process can be helpful in dispelling myths and keeping our horses/dogs/kids well protected where the risks warrant it.
                                        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                        Might be a reason, never an excuse...