Worryingly, around 50% of UK horse owners do not vaccinate their horses against flu and 40% do not vaccinate against tetanus, putting a large proportion of our horse population at risk.
Here are three reasons why you should vaccinate your horse:
1 – Disease can make horses ill or even worse
The last thing you want is for your horse, or any horse, to get ill, so prevention is always the best approach.
Although flu does not usually cause long term or fatal illness, it can lead to pneumonia in very young and old horses.
It can take from a few weeks to several months for horses to fully recover which could result in them being out of action for a significant period of time.
You may be restricted from competing and yard closures can be put into force.
If you see signs of flu in your horse, which include a dry cough, nasal discharge, fever, lack of appetite and lethargy, you should isolate your horse and contact your vet.
Signs of tetanus, such as seizures and muscle stiffness, can be severe and develop rapidly into a ‘rocking horse’ stance and ‘lock-jaw’.
Unfortunately, in many cases the disease proves to be fatal. It’s awful to see horses suffering with tetanus, and prevention by vaccination is the best option
2 – Disease spreads more easily than you think
Diseases can also spread indirectly via people, water, feed and equipment that have been in contact with infected horses.
Furthermore, equine flu can travel up to 5km in favourable conditions.
Even if a horse lives alone and doesn’t leave home, he’s still at risk of infection if left unvaccinated.
Ensure contact with horses and people off-premises is minimised, especially at competitions.
People who visit the yard should regularly wash their hands thoroughly and disinfect boots on entry and exit.
3 – Your horse is well connected
Even if he doesn’t leave the yard, your horse may still be in contact with horses who do, which can increase the risk of diseases spreading. Watch the video below to see how easily diseases can spread worldwide.