We have teamed up with Nicola Kinnard-Comedie who owns and runs NKC Equestrian Training to bring you a series of articles which will look into caring for your horse, common myths surrounding health care and top tips.
First, we will be looking at reasons why, as a horse owner, you should be vaccinating your horse.
1. It’s not just about your horse- vaccinating improves the health of the overall equine population.
One of the main reasons for vaccinating your horse is to protect your own animal from disease, but vaccinating your horse also contributes to the overall health of the entire equine population.
2. You are providing protection from life-threatening diseases
If your horse contracts equine flu they will be quite unwell, and a small number of cases are fatal. Tetanus, however, is a different matter, and in some ways, a much more serious disease as very few horses recover from this condition.
3. You can’t compete without vaccinations
Your horse will need to be vaccinated if you wish to compete in Riding Club and Pony Club competitions, as well as in affiliated disciplines. An up to date flu vaccination is also required at an increasing number of local shows, so it is worth looking at the rules of entry.
Checking vaccination records has become much more common, and it would be a shame to arrive at a show or a championship to find that you couldn’t compete because your horse’s vaccination had lapsed.
4. You might well invalidate your insurance policy without up to date vaccinations
Within the Terms and Conditions of your insurance policy, it will state that your horse’s vaccinations must be up to date. Consequently, if you choose not to have your horse vaccinated or the vaccinations lapse, any costs you incur in relation to diagnosis or treatment for the condition would not be covered under the policy as it would not meet the policy Terms and Conditions. This would mean these costs would need to be covered by you and as explained below, this can be expensive.
5. Vaccinating your horse is unlikely to make it unwell
Often owners say that they worry that the vaccination might make their horse unwell. Just like a human receiving a flu vaccination your horse might experience some localised muscle soreness, and it is sensible to tailor your horse’s work schedule around the vaccination giving them a few quieter days afterwards.
Some horses can develop an abscess in the injection site, although this isn’t that common. If you are concerned speak to your vet as they can administer the vaccination into the pectoral muscles in the chest, which will drain much better and heal faster if an abscess did form. If your horse does have a reaction do let your vet know as they report these reactions to the vaccination manufacturers.
6. Vaccinations are good value for money
If your horse receives a combined flu and tetanus vaccination there will be an annual booster, and many practices offer a ‘no fee day’ for routine work, in specific locations on certain days. You might be surprised that it is not as expensive as you think.
Compare this price to the cost of an influenza outbreak, which will involve numerous visits from your vet, your horse being isolated for several weeks at least (if not longer) so it is a much cheaper option. Likewise, with tetanus, the vaccination will set you back around £20 a year, compared to thousands of pounds of veterinary fees and the strong chance that your horse would not survive.
If you would like to update your horse first aid knowledge you can register for more details about our online Horse First Aid Courses using the link below: