Flu strains are always changing. Give your horse the vaccine that’s kept up.
Don’t settle for an outdated influenza vaccine
Getting a flu shot each year is second nature for most people. Although it has been thought of as a risk-based vaccine for horses, in reality, most horses could be at risk. As human influenza flooded the news in late 2014, it’s time to take a closer look at what makes some equine influenza vaccines work better than others.
Not your grandpa’s flu strain
Influenza viruses, human and equine, change as time goes by through a process called antigenic drift. Influenza vaccines need to be constantly updated to reflect this change in the circulating flu strains.
Antigenic drift occurs in both human and equine influenza, and different organizations work to prevent flu outbreaks by determining the current circulating viruses and then recommending what strains should be included in vaccines.
For humans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts which strains will be circulating in the next flu season. However, because of antigenic drift, there is occasionally a new strain circulating that was not included in the year’s vaccine. Such was the case late last year when the CDC announced the 2014 influenza vaccine would not be as effective against the current circulating flu strains. For horses, the Organization of International Epizootes (OIE) has an Expert Surveillance Panel on Equine Influenza consisting of globally recognized influenza researchers. Their recommendation, based on monitoring influenza viruses and antigenic drift, includes vaccinating for Florida Clade 1 and Clade 2 strains of the equine influenza virus.
Outdated vaccines put horses at risk
If your influenza vaccine doesn’t include the Florida Clade 1 and Clade 2 strains, it’s outdated and your horse is not getting full protection. An outdated vaccine can put your horses at risk by means of:
• Viral shedding. Even if your horse does not get visibly sick, it can shed the virus to other horses as much as an unvaccinated horse.
• A lower level of protection. An outdated vaccine is less
effective than one containing currently circulating strains.
Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. is the only vaccine manufacturer that has followed OIE Expert Surveillance Panel on Equine Influenza’s recommendation to include both Florida Clade 1 and Clade 2 equine influenza strains in its vaccines. The Vetera XP vaccine line provides direct antibody protection from the most recent strains of equine influenza to ensure your horse receives the highest level of protection.