EHV-4/1 vaccines are thought to be somewhat helpful against the respiratory disease.
Unfortunately, vaccination does not prevent the neurologic form of disease. It may, however, reduce the spread of EHV-1 generally, thus reducing overall disease incidence in a group of horses.
These vaccines should be given twice annually, by either intramuscular or intranasal routes, depending upon the specific product.
Pregnant mares should be vaccinated as directed with a vaccine licensed to protect against the abortive form of the disease. Generally this is at months 5, 7 and 9 of pregnancy. These are different products than those intended to prevent respiratory disease.
Talk to your vet to determine whether your horse needs these vaccines. Horses in contact with others (show and performance horses, horses boarded at barns) are at greater risk for EHV and so might benefit from vaccination. There is probably less benefit for older and isolated horses.
If you decide on vaccination for EHV, be sure to use the right product. Involve your vet in your vaccination program: They know about the more effective vaccines, can ensure that the vaccine is handled and administered properly, and will address any complications if they arise.
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Consider Potential Side Effects & Complications
Any vaccine can cause local swelling and pain. Horses may be depressed and lose their appetite. Anaphylactic reactions are possible and can cause severe depression, colic, diarrhea or hives.
Consider Reasons Not To Use This Treatment
Horses that are ill for any reason should generally not be vaccinated until they have fully recovered.
Horses that are being given systemic steroid medication or other immunosuppressive drugs may not mount an appropriate immune response following vaccination, rendering vaccination ineffective.
This vaccine should not be given to foals before 5 months of age, primarily because it is unlikely to be effective. Foals still have antibody from their dams that will bind to and inactivate the vaccine.
Is It working? Timeframe for effect
Antibody titers rise weeks after the end of a primary vaccine series. They rise days after booster doses.
Questions To Ask My Vet
- Is this vaccination really needed for my horse?
- Which brand of EHV vaccine do you recommend?
- Will this vaccine provide any protection for the neurologic form of rhino (EHV)?
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