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Equine Influenza Vaccinations: Complete Guide

Nicole Cosgrove

Equine influenza is one of the most infectious diseases in horses. It’s highly contagious, spreads rapidly, and affects the respiratory tract of your horse. It’s extremely common in the United States, the United Kingdom, and many other countries worldwide. Vaccination is your best line of defense, but many new and experienced owners may not know which vaccinations available or which ones are to choose. If you have questions about Equine influenza vaccinations and are unsure which ones to get for your horse, keep reading while we provide you with a complete guide to help you be better informed.

Equine Influenza Vaccinations

Luckily, there are only two main types of Equine Influenza Vaccinations. The two types are inactivated vaccines and modified live vaccines. The kind you use is mostly a personal choice, but budget and availability will likely play a part. A pregnant mayor will also have special needs that will look at now.

Inactivated Vaccines

Inactivated vaccines use a killed virus for intramuscular administration. Your horse will require two or three doses with three or four weeks in between each dose, so it will take a while before your horse is protected, and you will need to be comfortable with giving your horse a shot. One advantage to inactivated vaccines is that you can start using them at about four months, earlier than modified live vaccines. Modified live vaccines require you to wait several more months before administering them.

Pros

  • Can start using them sooner

Cons

  • It takes several weeks and multiple doses
  • Requires giving a shot

Modified Live Vaccines

As the name suggests, this vaccination uses a modified live virus to create a more potent treatment that you would minister through the nasal passage, and it’s a lot easier to administer. Unlike inactivated vaccines, the modified live vaccine only takes a single dose to be effective, so your horse is protected much sooner. The biggest downside to modified live vaccinations is that they might not be suitable for pregnant mayors, and you may need to rely on inactivated vaccines for these horses. Since the content is alive, the shelf life isn’t as long as inactivated vaccines.

Pros

  • Single dose
  • Easy to administer

Cons

  • It may not be suitable for pregnant mares

Vaccination Tips

  1. Previously vaccinated adult horses need to be re vaccinated annually, with both types requiring a single dose.
  2. Previously vaccinated pregnant mares will need annual revaccination with the inactivated vaccine. It will also need one dose administered four to six weeks postpartum.
  3. Foals can start getting the inactivated vaccine between four and six months of age.
  4. Foals can start getting modified live vaccines at about 11 months of age.
  5. Many experts recommend revaccinating your horse every six months if the horse attends racetracks or horse stables containing many horses.
  6. Revaccination is a good way to protect your horses when bringing a new horse home.

Summary

We recommend the modified live vaccines for most people as long as their horse isn’t pregnant because they are easy to administer and take effect quickly. Inactivated vaccines are the smart choice for pregnant mares, and horses don’t spend a lot of time around others to require immediate protection. Inactivated vaccines tend to be a little less expensive and have a longer shelf life.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this short guide, and it helped answer your questions. If we have made it easier to decide how to protect your horse, please share this guide to equine influenza vaccinations on Facebook and Twitter.

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.