The American Association of Equine Practitioners has developed a recommended vaccination schedule for horses in the USA. The AAEP recommends that all horses get vaccinated against tetanus, encephalomyelitis, West Nile Disease and Rabies every year.
While these recommendations are certainly sound, they may be a bit on the cautious side, and many horse owners are becoming concerned about the health impact of over vaccinating their horses.
Many horses experience complications when they are vaccinated. Complications can be mild, as in the case of lethargy, swelling at the injection site or a low fever, but some horses experience significant side effects from certain vaccines. More serious reactions include colic, neurological symptoms and other reactions that may be life-threatening.
Some veterinarians, including many holistic veterinarians, don’t necessarily agree wholeheartedly with the AAEP’s recommendations. These veterinarians advocate a more individualized approach to vaccinating horses.
These more customized approaches may include using blood tests to determine the level of antibodies a horse already has against various diseases or carefully assessing a horse’s potential risk of being exposed to communicable diseases such as influenza.
I just came across a very interesting article written by holistic veterinarian Dr. Joyce Harman: it is a list of each type of vaccine that is commonly administered to horses on the east coast, and how likely each one is to be effective and/or whether that type of vaccine is likely to produce severe reactions in horses who are sensitive.
I thought that this was one of the more helpful pieces of content I have ever come across on this topic. It is well worth reading.