Last Updated on January 6, 2023
Many veterinarians recommend the flu rhino vaccine for horses, but do all horses need this vaccine? And how do you know which shots your horse needs? Let’s find out everything you need to know about these vaccinations for horses!
What Is The Flu Rhino Vaccine For Horses?
Horses all around the world are commonly vaccinated against a variety of infectious diseases, but many horse owners get confused about what shots their horses need. Your veterinarian may suggest that your horse has a flu rhino vaccine, but what is this vaccination and does your horse need it?
The flu rhino vaccine for horses, also referred to as the fluvac innovator EHV 4 1, is a vaccination that protects against equine influenza virus and equine herpesvirus. To decide whether your horse needs this vaccine, firstly you need to know more about these diseases and whether your horse is at risk.
Equine Influenza – Flu Rhino Vaccine For Horses
Equine influenza is a highly contagious disease that affects the respiratory tract of horses. This virus, like the flu virus in humans, spreads quickly through the equine population and causes serious respiratory problems. It is spread through aerosol droplets that are dispersed when the horse coughs, or through horses touching objects that have been touched by infected horses.
Unfortunately, equine influenza is one of the most common infectious diseases and is endemic in many countries around the world. The only countries that do not have equine influenza in their equine population are Iceland, Australia, and New Zealand, and strict quarantine restrictions are in place to help maintain their infection-free status.
For the rest of the world, most countries rely on vaccination and disease prevention measures to keep equine influenza outbreaks under control. Like human influenza, different strains of equine influenza are constantly evolving, and vaccines need to be regularly updated to account for this.
The symptoms of equine influenza virus include a harsh, unproductive cough, lethargy, reduced appetite, nasal discharge, and enlarged lymph nodes around the throat area. This disease is rarely fatal to horses but can be very debilitating and result in a long recovery period. There is no specific treatment for equine influenza, other than supportive nursing care and symptomatic therapies.
Equine herpesvirus (EHV) is a virus that occurs in horses around the world. There are many different strains of EHV – the two of most concern are EHV-1 and EHV-4, although EHV-3 can also be problematic in horses used for breeding purposes.
EHV-1 causes a range of symptoms including neurological disease, abortion, and respiratory problems. EHV-4 also causes respiratory disease but is less like to result in abortion or neurological symptoms.
Younger horses are more likely to show symptoms of EHV, particularly weaned foals and yearlings. Adult horses can become infected and transmit the disease without showing any clinical signs. EHV outbreaks are more likely to occur during the fall and winter months.
The highly infectious nature of EHV makes outbreaks difficult to control. Infected particles are shed via nasal secretions, which are then transmitted via nose-to-nose contact or through contaminated objects. It is also believed that aerosol transmission may occur, where airborne water droplets containing the virus are inhaled by other horses.
What Is The Rhino Horse Vaccine?
You will often hear horse owners talking about the rhino vaccine for horses, but what is this vaccine? The term ‘rhino’ is slightly misleading, as it is used to refer to two very different equine infectious diseases.
The first of these is rhinopneumonitis, which is caused by the equine herpesvirus (EHV). The second is equine rhinovirus, which is a mild respiratory infection similar to the common cold in humans. So, if your veterinarian suggests a rhino vaccine for your horse, which of these diseases are they vaccinating against?
The term ‘rhino vaccine’ is normally used for a vaccine that gives some immunity against rhinopneumonitis caused by the EHV virus. However, if you are in any doubt, please ask your veterinarian to confirm exactly which diseases are contained in the recommended vaccines.
Does My Horse Need The Flu Rhino Vaccine?
The vaccinations your horse needs will depend on many factors, such as the area where you live and the disease risk of your local area. Horses that travel to competitions often require additional vaccines as they are at greater risk of meeting infected horses.
So, how do you know that your horse needs the flu rhino vaccine? Equine influenza and equine herpesvirus are not listed as core vaccines by the American Association of Equine Practitioners, but instead, they recommend these vaccinations are given on a risk factor basis.
When it comes to equine herpesvirus, the main risk factors are the age of the horse and the type of activities it participates in. Horses under the age of are considered to be more susceptible to equine herpesvirus, as well as horses that regularly travel to competitions.
The decision of whether to vaccinate against equine influenza will most likely depend on the number of cases in your local area. Some horse owners choose to vaccinate against this disease no matter what, while others will only vaccinate when there is an outbreak in their local area. The problem with the second strategy is that equine influenza can spread rapidly, and your horse may become infected before the vaccination has time to take effect.
Summary – Flu Rhino Vaccine For Horses
So, as we have learned, the flu rhino equine vaccine is a double vaccine that protects horses against equine influenza virus and equine herpesvirus. Both of these diseases are highly infectious diseases of horses that cause severe and debilitating respiratory symptoms. Equine herpesvirus infections can cause abortion in pregnant mares, and may also affect the function of the nervous system in horses of all ages and genders.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the flu rhino vaccine for horses! Do you get really confused about which vaccinations your horse needs and when? Or perhaps you’ve got some questions about how to prevent equine herpesvirus in your herd of horses? Leave a comment below and we will get back to you!
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE