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.
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)
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
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
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!