A way to improve or resolve a condition or diagnosis. This might include resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment).

Cost: Under $100

These cost ranges are approximate and may vary from region to region.
Additional charges may also apply.

YOUR VET MAY Recommend

Vaccination, Rabies

Cost: Under $100

These cost ranges are approximate and may vary from region to region.
Additional charges may also apply.


Rabies is rare but fatal in horses. It poses a similarly grave risk to humans. Infected horses can infect human handlers. For that reason, rabies vaccination deserves special consideration.

Rabies vaccines are generally effective and provide peace of mind in the event a horse is exposed to the disease. Rabies is a “core” vaccine, recommended for every equine by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP).


The vaccine is made from part of the rabies virus that has been chemically altered so it has no toxic effects, but still stimulates an immune response. When this is injected into the muscle, immune cells create antibodies to rabies. If the rabies vaccine is exposed to the blood, then these antibodies bind to the organism and destroy it before it can produce toxin.

Rabies vaccine is given annually as an intra-muscular injection. Depending upon the specific product used, vaccination may either start with a single shot, or a primary shot and a booster in 3-6 weeks. Due to the public health implications of this disease, your vet administers this vaccine. It should not be purchased over-the-counter.

my vet's role


Related Diagnoses

This treatment might be used to treat these conditions or ailments.

Very Common
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Know Related Treatments

Your vet considers other treatments that might be used along with or instead of this treatment.

Very Common
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Most rabies vaccines are generally quite safe. However, as with all vaccines, adverse reactions are possible. 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.


Not used in foals under 6 months of age, born from vaccinated dams. For foals born from unvaccinated dams, vaccination begins at as early as 3 months.

your role

Is it working? Timeframe for effect.
A horse should have protection from rabies within weeks after the first series of vaccine. Horses that have received a booster in years following will have a spike of immunity, within a few days after vaccination.
Questions To Ask Your Vet:
  • What is the best vaccination protocol for rabies?

further reading & resources


Brand Name Products

Equine health related brand name products and services.

  • Merck Animal Health Equirab® with Havlogen®, Equine Vaccine
  • Merial Equine Potomavac® + IMRAB®, Equine Vaccine
  • Merial IMRAB® 3, Equine Vaccine
  • Merial IMRAB® Large Animal, Equine Vaccine
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. Rabvac® 3, Equine Vaccine

Related References:

American Association of Equine Practitioners website. Vaccination Guidelines. Available at:
http://www.aaep.org/info/vaccination-guidelines-265. Accessed 2013.

Wilson WD, Pusterla N. Current Concepts in Equine Vaccination & Infectious Disease Control in Smith BP ed., Large Animal Internal Medicine, 5th ed. St. Louis: Elsevier, 2015; 1437.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP