Horse Vaccination Schedule- What Vaccines Do Horses Need?

Last Updated on January 22, 2022

There are a variety of vaccinations on the market for use in horses. But is there a recommended horse vaccination schedule? In reality, there is no “one size fits all” vaccination program for horses or even an industry standard. The AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) has created a recommended schedule, however, it is only a loose recommendation. Exact guidance typically comes directly from your equine veterinarian and may result in a customized schedule for your horses. Some manufacturer recommendations may also differ from the AAEP. Vaccinations train an animal’s immune system to fight a disease that he/she has never been in contact with by stimulating antibody production. Vaccinations are designed as a preventative measure, not a treatment.

Horse Vaccines

Types of Equine Vaccinations

There are several factors that may affect the types of vaccinations and shot schedule your horse may receive. These include the likelihood of exposure, threat level, the severity of the disease, history of adverse reactions, effectiveness, and age. At a minimum, horses typically receive these “core” vaccines:
  • Western and Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (referred to as WEE and EEE)
  • West Nile (WNV)
  • Tetanus
  • Rabies


More recently, influenza and herpesvirus vaccines have been included in this “core” classification by many veterinarians. The “5 Way” contains WEE/EEE, tetanus, influenza, Equine Herpesvirus, whereas the “6 Way” also includes West Nile. Risk-based shots are another classification of vaccinations that may be incorporated into your horse’s shot schedule.  Your vet will help you determine if your horse is a candidate based on exposure risk. Some of the risk-based vaccines include:
  • Rotaviral diarrhea
  • Rattlesnake bite
  • Strangles
  • Leptospirosis
  • Botulism
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AAEP Recommended Horse Vaccination Schedule

Keep in mind, some competition agencies such as USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) may have vaccination requirements and rules. These are only guidelines, and an ideal horse vaccination program can be determined after discussing your horse with a licensed veterinarian

Foals Vaccination Schedule

Foal and weanling schedules can differ based on the mare’s prepartum vaccination history (or lack thereof). Under one year of age, foals and weanlings typically receive:
  • Tetanus (3 dose series)
  • EEE/WEE (3 dose series)
  • WNV (3 dose series)
  • Rabies (2 dose series)
  • Risk-based vaccines discussed with a veterinarian.
You can find the complete foal chart from AAEP here.

Adult Horses Vaccination Schedule

The shot schedule below is a recommendation for standard adult horses in good health. However, these guidelines do differ from broodmares and adult horses with no vaccination history or are unvaccinated.
  • Tetanus (annual)
  • EEE/WEE (annual)
  • WNV (annual)
  • Rabies (annual)
  • Equine herpesvirus (annual if included in core)
  • Influenza (semi-annual or annual if included in core)
  • Risk-based equine vaccines discussed with a veterinarian

Adult Horses Vaccination Schedule

Closing Thoughts

Horse vaccination schedule guidelines are subject to change as new information comes out. However, some horses have unique situations and may not fall under this standardized schedule.  If you have any questions about vaccinations, contact your equine vet for specific guidance. Was this helpful? Be sure to share this article with your horse friends!


How long does tetanus shot last for horses?

Tetanus is a rare disease in horses, but it can cause serious problems if not treated promptly. It is a bacterial disease that can affect muscle tissue and is often caused by wounds.
In contrast to humans, the duration of immunity against tetanus in horses is not well established. There is evidence that immunity lasts at least eight years. Vaccination can prevent disease, reduce the chance of complications and help protect your horse's health. It is important to vaccinate your horse against tetanus as it can be life threatening. 

How much do yearly horse vaccinations cost?

Quick Answer Horse vaccinations are typically about $300 to $400 per year. They include vaccinations for the four main equine diseases: tetanus, rabies, eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus.
The horse’s immune system needs regular stimulation to protect it from disease. Vaccination is one way of protecting your horse against these diseases. Most horses get two vaccinations during their lifetime. The first is called a primary vaccination. It is given as a series of injections at three, four or five months of age.

What is in a 7 way vaccine for horses?

7-way vaccine is a live virus vaccine that can protect your horse against several viruses at once. It contains two strains of the West Nile Virus (WNV) and three strains of the East Nile Virus (ENV) to offer more protection against different strains of these viruses. It also contains two strains of the SLEV (SLEV-NY99 and SLEV-BARU) and one strain of the Tetanus Toxoid (TT) to help protect your horse from three diseases: tetanus, SLE and flu.
The 7-way vaccine is available in 5 ml vials, and is safe for use in horses of all ages. It is also available in a combination (1 dose) form to protect your horse against WNV, ENV and TT. The manufacturer recommends a booster dose of this vaccine every 3 years. You can give your horse a 7-way vaccination once a year or two times per year to help keep your horse protected against these viruses.

What injections do horses need each year?

Some vaccines such as those against tetanus and EHV need to be given annually to protect against a possible outbreak of disease in a particular year. Others, like those for equine influenza, can be given more frequently, e.g. every 3 months. It is important to be aware of which vaccinations your horse needs and when they need to be given. Remember, not all animals are susceptible to all diseases, so a vaccine is only effective if it is given at the correct time, ideally before the animal becomes ill. The best way to make sure your horse gets the right vaccinations is to ask your vet or local equine practice about which vaccines he/she recommends and to check with your vet before each vaccination.

What vaccines are required by law for horses?

A comprehensive vaccination programme is needed to protect horses against various diseases. However, not all vaccines protect against every disease. Therefore, it is important to check the individual vaccination requirements for your country before purchasing and administering vaccines to your horse.
What diseases can be prevented by vaccination? There are many different infectious diseases that can affect horses. Some of these diseases are endemic in certain regions of the world, while others occur only occasionally in certain areas. The requirements are different from country to country, but most countries require at least one vaccine for the prevention of infectious diseases. In some countries, a combination of two or more vaccines is required for the prevention of disease.