Responsible horse owners ensure their horses receive the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) recommended core vaccinations each year. But does this mean that these vaccines make the horse immune to the diseases they have been vaccinated for?
Dr. Elizabeth Davis tells The Horse that there are a few things that may affect vaccine efficacy. They include:
- How vaccines are handled. Storage and handling instructions may be product specific; vaccines should be stored with no light exposure and at the correct temperature. The vaccines should be shaken to ensure a uniform suspension is administered. If any of these are not done properly, the vaccine may not be as effective.
- Timing of vaccinations. It's important to keep accurate records of when horses are vaccinated; a horse that has his immune system challenged after his length of protection provided by the vaccines may not be able to mount an adequate response. All horses should be vaccinated at the recommended intervals to remain as protected as possible.
- Horse health history. A horse that has impaired immunity, like from stress or transport, or one that is on immunosuppressive medications like corticosteroids, may not have as effective a response to vaccinations as a healthy horse. The horse's age and if he has any endocrine dysfunction should also be taken into account.
- Horse vaccination history. If a horse comes to a farm with no history of vaccination administration, he should be treated as if he has had no vaccinations at all. He should be given the series of vaccines that begin with a priming dose, then is followed by two vaccines at three- or four-week intervals; this allows for maximum protection.
Read more at The Horse.
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