Typically, horses receive spring and fall vaccinations with no side effects; many times an owner can't even tell the horse has received an injection.
Sometimes, however, horses will show mild to moderate reactions to vaccines, specifically to the proteins or to the substances added to the vaccines to enhance the immune response. One regular vaccine that can cause a reaction is the equine herpesvirus vaccine.
Horses that are having reactions to vaccines may show:
- Low energy levels
- Appetite loss
- Soreness or swelling at the vaccination site
- Stiff movement, especially in the neck where many vaccines are administered
Many times, if your horse has a reaction to a vaccine he has been given, it will resolve itself in 48 to 96 hours. A dose of an NSAID like phenylbutazone or flunixin can be given, but the reaction will resolve itself over time even if nothing is done.
However, more serious reactions can happen, though they are very rare. These reactions can include an anaphylactic reaction, which would require immediate intervention as the horse has intense difficulty breathing.
If your horse has had a reaction to a particular vaccine in the past, it's helpful to administer an NSAID just before he receives the vaccination to prevent the adverse response entirely.
Read more at Stable Management.
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