COVID-19 NOTICE
We remain open. Our Vets are working as normal from 8:30am-6:00pm. The practice is staffed Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4.30 pm.
Our free visits have been replaced with a reduced visit fee of £20.

Vaccinations

Equine Influenza

Equine influenza is a debilitating respiratory disease caused by the highly contagious and ever adapting influenza virus. It can travel up to 2km carried by the wind so horses do not need to be in direct contact with an infected horse to become infected themselves.

Clinical signs vary in severity but can include fever, lethargy, anorexia and a dry, harsh cough. Death is uncommon but can occur in youngstock and older or immunocompromised animals. Horses with 'flu' require complete rest for at least three weeks but may need up to three months to completely recover.

There have been epidemic outbreaks worldwide with huge economic consequences to the equine industry. The Australian outbreak in 2007 cost $AUD 1.6 billion, took 10 days to spread and 5 months to control. In 2019, the British Isles suffered the biggest outbreak for years which had a serious impact on horse racing and most other equestrian sport for months.

The best way to prevent outbreaks of equine influenza is to vaccinate against the disease.

The flu virus constantly changes and mutates, therefore it is never possible to provide 100% complete protection with any vaccine. However, Donnington Place Equine Vets always use the most up to date vaccine on the market to give the best possible protection for our clients' horses.

Equine Influenza Vaccination

The basic rules for vaccinating horses against equine influenza are the same for leisure horses, showing, British Riding Clubs (BRC), Pony Club (PC), British Dressage (BD), British Eventing (BE), British Showjumping (BS), horse racing (BHA) and Endurance GB etc. They are:

  • First primary vaccination;
  • The second primary vaccination must be given no less than 21 and no more than 92 days after the first primary;
  • The first booster vaccination must be given no less than 150 and no more than 215 days after the second primary.
  • Annual booster vaccinations given no more than one calendar year from the date of the last vaccination.

It is not a good idea to book a vaccination on the last possible day; you could regret it if your vet is called to an emergency!

Equine Influenza Vaccination for Competition

There are several extra rules that apply to competing under the governing bodies listed above. One rule they all have in common is that horses must not have been vaccinated in the week before the competition. Some are very specific, for example BRC rules state that the horse must not have been vaccinated on the day of the competition or entry into stables and the previous six days.

Since the outbreak in 2019, many disciplines have ruled that to compete on a specific day, the latest vaccination must be much less than a year ago:

  • FEI, BE, BRC – 6 months and 21 days (counted backwards)
  • BD and PC – 6 months
  • BS – no change
  • BHA - 9 months

The extra rules do not necessarily mean a horse must be vaccinated more than once a year after the first three injections. For example, if you arranged your horse’s annual vaccination towards the end of March, you could take it to BE events from April until around the middle of October which covers most of the season.

Also, remember that many venues also impose their own rule that horses must have been vaccinated within six months of visiting the premises.

There is a useful vaccination checking tool here, BRC Downloads.

Tetanus

Tetanus or 'Lockjaw' is caused by spores of the tetanus bacterium that lie dormant in soil, dust or animal faeces. They can enter the horse’s body through wounds, however small and start to multiply. Toxins released by the bacteria then enter the horse’s bloodstream causing clinical signs starting with general muscle stiffness and progressing to a stiff jaw and inability to chew with a heightened state of anxiety. The disease usually results in death over 5-10 days due to paralysis of the respiratory muscles.

Tetanus Vaccinations

Tetanus is easily preventable by a course of vaccinations:

  • First primary vaccination
  • Second primary vaccination four to six weeks after the first primary
  • A booster vaccination every two or three years depending on vaccine type

Most owners organise tetanus and equine influenza vaccinations to run alongside each other to save time and money.

Vaccination Calendar

1st Vaccination: From 4-6 months old
2nd Vaccination: 21-92 days
3rd Vaccination: 150 – 215 days
Booster Frequency: Annually (before date of previous vaccination)

1st Vaccination: From 4-6 months old
2nd Vaccination: 4-6 weeks after 1st vaccination
3rd Vaccination: 6 months after 2nd vaccination
Booster Frequency: Annually (before date of previous vaccination)

1st Vaccination: From 4-6 months old
2nd Vaccination: 4-6 weeks after 1st vaccination
3rd Vaccination: 1 year
Booster Frequency: Every other year

1st Vaccination: From 4-6 months old
2nd Vaccination: 21-92 days after 1st vaccination
3rd Vaccination: 150-215 days after 2nd vaccination
Booster Frequency: Annually (before date of previous vaccination)

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