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Vaccinating foals

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  • Vaccinating foals

    Got a situation, doesn't involve me as a horse owner, and I have no knowledge of foals as I am not a breeder.

    I've been doing some research online concerning vaccinating foals and have found information from reliable sites - AAEP, for example.

    Is the foal vaccination schedule a "recommendation" or something that truly should be done, especially in a boarding situation?

    Have knowledge of a foal in a boarding facility with no vaccines and owner isn't truthful about age of foal.

    I don't feel comfortable discussing the situation publically but if someone has further information, I wouldn't mind a PM!

    Thanks in advance...

  • #2
    http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/ceh/vaccination.cfm

    On this page, lick on the update guidelines for vaccinations for N.America. It's all there.

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    • #3
      A foal can get sick and become a temporary reservoir for infectious disease just as much as an adult horse can; somewhat more so, in fact, because their immune systems are naive. If it's a situation where you expect someone to have their adult horse vaccinated against communicable diseases, weanlings should be included when they are "of age". If they become ill with something communicable like EHV or Strangles, they can become little germ factories spreading very large amounts of the pathogen, such that they may be more likely to infect another horse which does have a competent immune system but maybe isn't vaccinated or did not mount a sufficient response to the vaccine to deal with such a large challenge. The more of a pathogen you are faced with, the more likely you are to become sick (as a very general rule with some exceptions).

      That said, of course, things are a bit more complicated when dealing with foals, since residual passive immunity from the dam can interfere with the proper response to vaccination. The duration of this varies a fair amount, but since we have no feasible way to test it in individual foals, we go with numbers that should work for most foals and balance the risk of not having our vaccine work and the risk of the foal contracting a potentially fatal disease due to going too long without protection. Hence the recommendation for starting core vaccines at 4-6 months of age for foals who are likely to have received passive immunity (i.e., their dams were vaccinated) and younger for foals that are less likely to have good passive immunity.

      As a side note, it is imperative to complete the full series of initial boosters in the time frame recommended by the manufacturer, as failure to establish a large initial response can result in a lack of persistent immunity. In fact, I was just talking about this the other day with an equine vet (boarded in both internal medicine and surgery) who saw a horse die of tetanus despite having had annual boosters for years - the owners had never done the initial series. We can't prove it but it is likely that the horse never had a very good response to the vaccines, leaving it more susceptible when it was later exposed to a sufficient amount to make it ill.
      The plural of anecdote is not data.
      Eventing Yahoo In Training

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