We are fortunate in the horse world to have a plethora of effective vaccines to protect our horses against infectious diseases. Many infectious diseases are associated with high mortality rates, but vaccination protection can thwart the disease.
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Every horse should receive what are termed the “core vaccines,” as recommended by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). These are annual vaccines that protect against:
- Eastern and Western equine encephalitis (EEE and WEE)
- West Nile virus (WNV)
Every horse across the United States should receive each of these vaccines at a minimum. All vaccines—core or risk-based—begin with a primary series of 2-3 injections spaced 3-5 weeks apart.
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The vaccines then are boosted once or twice annually, depending on the timing and degree of exposure. EEE, WEE and WNV are transmitted by mosquitos, so horses might need twice-annual boosters in certain geographic locations.
Rabies and tetanus only need to be given once annually in most circumstances.
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