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EHV Vaccine- Is it worth it?

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  • EHV Vaccine- Is it worth it?

    So equine herpes virus (EHV-1) has been identified in hunt horses and a dressage yard in my area of the UK. They claim to have contained the spread of the virus through strict isolation protocol. Our horses are due to go to a stay away competition (think 'A' h/j show) next week. No horses at the showground have been suspected to have EHV, and as these are primarily jumpers, I think that the chances of horses coming into contact with the aforementioned infected horses is fairly low. That said, there is still the risk so I'm wondering, should I be asking my vet for the EHV vaccine? The data I've read has said that it does not protect against the neurologic type, and may not provide complete protection, but did anyone who encountered the FL outbreak have success with vaccination?

    Would it be worth it for piece of mind? Or am I throwing my money away? Of course I will also be very vigilant about biosecurity protocol at the show (as much as you can be in temp stables).


  • #2
    It won't help you with the neurologic form.


    • #3
      If you've never vaccinated before than giving one dose a week out probably won't help. If you've vaccinated in the past than I would booster, yes. Some vets in this area recommend the Modified Live Vaccine, Rhinomune, but there isn't much actual evidence that it provides more protection.


      • #4
        I would not. It only helps keep the horse from shedding as much of the virus at best.


        • #5
          I saw one, small, study that showed some effectiveness with the live virus vaccine Rhinomune. Therefore, I give Rhinomune. I wish someone would do more vaccine research so all of us would know if we should be immunizing and how often we should be immunizing.


          • #6
            Do you remember where you saw that study? I have searched around a lot and asked several of my vets. They all have pretty much said that vaccinating my own horses does zero good.


            • #7
              Even if it did provide some protection (which, as others have said, it doesn't for the neuro form), its usually about 1 week before you start to see a slight change in antibody titers. Honestly not worth it, IMO, if your sole goal is to try to protect your horse a week from now.


              • #8
                Originally posted by AKB View Post
                I saw one, small, study that showed some effectiveness with the live virus vaccine Rhinomune.
                Rhinomune was associated with a large number of vaccine reactions in my area a few years ago when it was indicated to protect better against the EHV-1. The majority of vets in my area (from multiple practices) quit giving it altogether because they all saw such an increase in reactions. It is a live-attenuated vaccine. One of my horses reacted violently to it twice (muscle fasciculations, colic; the first time we thought it was a reaction to sedation for teeth floating) so I will never touch that vaccine again.


                • #9
                  I would, OP -- if not for this show (it is probably too recent to be effective at all now) then for the next. It does not offer much protection against neuro EHV-1 (it is not clear whether "none" or "limited" is true) -- but any protection could help you in an EHV situation.

                  I had a vaccinated pony who had that many years ago. However, the vets believed that none of my other horses got it because the whole barn was vaccinated. This certainly appears plausible as the pony had been out in the field together with a herd of 6 other horses for a week after the show where she got it -- and no one else was affected. She came in from the field one day uninterested in grain with an extremely high temp (106.8). After that we kept her away from the others but until then they had a LOT of exposure to her. I was terrified it would spread but no one got so much as a slight temp or runny nose.

                  Just realize it might not help at all, and don't let your biosecurity guard down the least little bit because you've vaccinated.


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks guys!! I will have a chat with my vet and go from there