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Vaccinating for rabies twice in a year... y/n?

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  • Vaccinating for rabies twice in a year... y/n?

    Here's the backstory: I've been doing my own vaccines for a number of years. There have been only a couple of instances where the vet did them on my current horse -- one was with a package plan with my old vet that included floating, etc. and was more cost-effective than doing it by myself. The other one was last spring, when the barn manager had the vet out and had every horse vaccinated WITHOUT telling boarders they were doing this. Imagine my surprise when I got a bill for $160+ for vaccines I hadn't OK'ed beforehand.

    Anyway, the vet had done a number of vaccines on my horse in spring 2011 -- the usual spring shots (Flu/Rhino, EWT, WNV, Botulism) and Rabies. I had been giving my horse his rabies shots in the fall just to spread things out, because normally I do Flu/Rhino, EWT, WNV, and Potomac in the spring, and then Flu/Rhino, WNV, and a Potomac/Rabies combo in the fall.

    [Before anyone jumps on me for not having my vet out for a routine spring check, I still have him come and do Botulism (since it's impossible to get in a one-dose syringe) and float his teeth every spring. Plus I prefer to give my horse his vaccines spread out over a week for a multitude of reasons, and I prefer to use certain brands.]

    That being said, I'd like to switch his rabies back over to the fall again. Should I give him another Rabies booster this spring to cover the six months between now and when I "reset" his schedule to do the Potomac/Rabies combo in the fall? Or is that too much, and should I just let him go without this spring and then stick him in the fall...? How long do Rabies boosters REALLY last? I'm not concerned about the cost, more of vaccine overkill, and I don't think having 4 rabies shots in the course of two years is really necessary...
    Road to the T3D
    fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
    skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk

  • #2
    Rabies vaccines are among the most effective. The smaller and less complicated the "bug", the more effective vaccines tend to be, GENERALLY SPEAKING. And rabies is a VERY humble, simple virus for all its deadliness.

    Personally I'd rather do one too many than one too few when it comes to something that's 100% fatal, all things considered. I'd rather give an extra than skip one, but you're probably fine either way.
    Click here before you buy.


    • #3
      I vaccinate for rabies once a year. The vaccine is actually effective for longer than a year. But you don't want to go too long between vaccinations as rabies is deadly. I vaccinate for west nile 2x a year, as with some other vaccines. Your horse can get west nile even if it is vaccinated. But it will not get rabies if you vaccinate once a year. Cloudy and Hattie got theirs a few weeks ago.

      The rabies vaccine takes a few weeks to become fully effective. So vaccinating 2x a year won't hurt your horse. If your horse or dog or cat gets into a disagreement with a raccoon or fox or dog or cat, or any other warmblooded animal, you will want to get a "booster" shot.

      I grew up here in rabies central: SE GA. I've always paid vet to vaccinate my dogs and cats and horses so that they won't be put down if they get bitten by some wild or domestic unvaccinated animal. We read each year in the paper or see on tv where someone's dog or cat dies of rabies because it was not vaccinated.


      • #4
        If you're worried about over vaccinating have your vet pull a titre for rabies in the spring to make sure there is reasonable immunity and then do your annual in the fall.


        • #5
          Doing the titer probably costs multiple times more than the booster.
          Click here before you buy.


          • #6
            Originally posted by deltawave View Post
            Doing the titer probably costs multiple times more than the booster.
            Agreed. I always used to ask my vet. Once a year is fine, twice a year is OK. You do not want to chance going for years. If a rabid animal bites, and the horse is not immune, you have a dead horse.

            Once a year (or twice if you want to) and a booster if there is interaction with a warmblooded animal. (and most times you won't have the animal to kill and send the brain off for testing. So any interaction with an animal that is not vaccinated.) Peace of mind. All my vets over decades have said this, and they never waivered.


            • #7
              Originally posted by deltawave View Post
              Doing the titer probably costs multiple times more than the booster.
              I realize this, but if she's that concerned about over vaccination, I just thought I'd mention this option.

              I did titres on an older dog and it was about $40 at the time. She had a medical reason for not being vaccinated but it allowed us to be legal and not have an issue with the health department for having an unvaccinated pet.

              She never mentioned her budget, so I felt it was a valid alternative.


              • Original Poster

                Okay, I'll just do Rabies again this spring to cover all my bases. Just wasn't sure if doing it TOO many times was detrimental, but it sounds like Tetanus -- cheap and easy to prevent albeit deadly if not vacc'd, so you can't be too careful. We definitely have some critters (foxes, raccoons, etc.) that come on to the property. It's easy to get a Potomac/Rabies combo shot, and it's only a few dollars more than the regular Potomac.
                Road to the T3D
                fri [fri:] fritt fria (adj): Free
                skritt [skrit:] skritten (noun): Walk