A good preventative care program for your horse consists of yearly physical and dental examination, vaccinations, and fecal tests to check for internal parasites. Tehre are many different vaccines on the market for horses, but the following are the vaccines that we consider the most important in our area of New England.
1. Rabies: Rabies is a virus transmitted through a bite or saliva of an infected animal. Rabies is fatal once clinical signs appear.
2. Eastern/Western Equine Encephalitis (EEE/WEE): These mosquito transmitted diseases can cause neurologic signs, fever, and death. While these diseases are not especially common in Northern New England, rare cases have been reported in NH.
3. West Nile Virus (WNV): This virus is transmitted by mosquitos as well and causes fever, neurologic signs, and death. While not especially common in New England, there have been positive cases within the last few years.
4. Tetanus: Tetanus is a bacterium that lives in teh soil and can be introduced through punctures or scratches in the skin. Signs of Tetanus can include facial tenseness, sawhorse stance, tremors, and death.
Other vaccines that are available and important for horses that travel, show, or are in higher risk areas include Strangles, Rhinopneumonitis/Influenza, Botulism, and Potomac Horse Fever.
1. Strangles: Strangles is an infection transmitted through nasal discharge. Clincial signs include fever, swelling in the area of the gutteral pouch, and nasal discharge. Strangles is highly virulent and is strongly recommended in young horses or those that are traveling and showing.
2. Rhinopneumonitis/Influenza: These viruses are transmitted in nasal secretions and can cause fever, nasal discharge, lethargy, inappetence, and respiratory signs. This vaccine is strongly recommended for horses that travel/show or horses that are housed with other horses that travel/show.
3. Botulism: Botulism is a bacterium that rarely causes disease in horses in New England. horses that are fed from round bales may be at higher risk from Botulism. Clincial signs include neurologic changes, unable to stand, difficulty eating, and death. This vaccine is strongly recommmended if your horses are fed round bales.
4. Potomac Horse Fever: PHF is caused by a bacterium that lives within infected water insects including but not limited to caddis flies and mayflies. Potomac Horse Fever can cause fever, signs of colic, diarrhea, laminitis, and potentially death. While cases of this disease are rare in our region, it has been seen in other areas of NH and VT. Horses most at risk are those that drink from streams.
Are your horses up to date on their vaccines as we head into the fall? If not Claremont Animal Hospital can help. Please call 603-543-0117 to set up an office visit or farm call with one of our doctors.