The core vac­cines

EQUUS - - Contents - By Heidi Furseth

A num­ber of dread­ful dis­eases are now very rare among horses---thanks to some of the sim­plest and cheap­est pre­ven­tive mea­sures we have.

A num­ber of dread­ful dis­eases are now very rare among horses--thanks to some of the sim­plest and cheap­est pre­ven­tive mea­sures we have.

Vac­ci­na­tion eas­ily ranks as one of the sin­gle most im­por­tant things you do to pro­tect your horse’s health. In fact, vac­cines have been so suc­cess­ful that it’s rare to even hear of horses con­tract­ing sev­eral dread­ful dis­eases that once loomed as a con­stant threat.

It is worth­while, though, to re­mem­ber what those in­jec­tions are do­ing---es­pe­cially the four “core” vac­cines the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Equine Prac­ti­tion­ers (AAEP) rec­om­mends for ev­ery horse. The AAEP guide­lines dis­tin­guish be­tween two cat­e­gories of equine vac­cines: Nine are in­cluded in the “risk-based” group, which your vet­eri­nar­ian might rec­om­mend only for those horses most in need of pro­tec­tion against cer­tain ill­nesses (an­thrax, bot­u­lism, equine her­pesvirus, equine vi­ral ar­teri­tis, equine in­fluenza, Po­tomac horse fever, ro­tavi­ral di­ar­rhea, snakebite and stran­gles). Risk may be based on dis­eases en­demic to a par­tic­u­lar re­gion, an out­break or epi­demic in a spe­cific area, and/or whether a horse’s “life­style”---as a breed­ing an­i­mal or equine ath­lete---in­creases the risk of ex­po­sure to par­tic­u­lar pathogens.

In con­trast, the four core vac­cines---east­ern/western equine en­cephalomye­li­tis (EEE/WEE), ra­bies, tetanus and West Nile virus (WNV)--have sev­eral char­ac­ter­is­tics: • They pro­tect against dis­eases that oc­cur year after year---by way of dis­ease car­ri­ers in the soil, car­ried by in­sects or lo­cal wildlife---so that ev­ery horse is at risk, re­gard­less of lo­ca­tion or life­style. • They pre­vent dis­eases that have a high mor­tal­ity rate and/or have no ef­fec­tive treat­ment. • They are safe, ef­fec­tive and widely avail­able. • In the case of ra­bies, the vac­cine pro­tects hu­man health and lives.

Here is a brief over­view of the four dis­eases the core vac­cines pro­tect against.

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