A veterinarian should vaccinate your horse for diseases such as tetanus, viral respiratory disease and strangles. Your veterinarian will advise what your horse should be vaccinated for and how often.

The main disease concerns in horses include tetanus, strangles and Hendra Virus.

Vaccination process

  • vaccinations for tetanus and strangles can be given from 3 months of age, and requires three doses, 2 week apart.

    • Initial dose: '2 in 1' tetanus and strangles
    • Second dose (2 weeks after initial dose): Strangles only
    • Third dose (2 weeks after second dose): '2 in 1' tetanus and strangles
    • To keep your horses vaccination up to date, an annual booster is required.
  • Hendra Virus vaccinations can be started at 4 months of age (if born to an unvaccinated mare), with two doses a month apart initially, followed by a booster dose 6 months later.

If the foal is born to a vaccinated mare, we recommend that the first vaccination be at 6 months of age, to avoid interference to the vaccine from maternal antibodies.

The vaccination protocol is the same for both foals and adult horses which have not previously been vaccinated.

Maintaining a protected status

Maintaining a protected status is important as this determines what diagnostics can be offered and whether an unwell patient requires a Hendra exclusion test. Once a patient has received its second dose and this has been recorded, their status will be updated to “protected” on the registry. To maintain this protected status, the recommended vaccination protocol stated above should be followed.

There is a 5 week grace period after the due date of the 6 month booster and annual booster in which a patient will remain certified as vaccinated. After this grace period the horse will be considered “unprotected” on the registry.

Should the patient become overdue by a period of less than 6 months, a single booster is sufficient to return the vaccine status to protected. If the patient does not receive their dose within 6 months of the due date, then they are required to have 2 vaccines 4-6 weeks apart to restore protection.

Other diseases which are less common but may also be considered for vaccination include Equine Herpes Virus, Rotavirus and Salmonella. For more information, please call our one of our clinics.

References: business.qld.gov.au; virbac.com; apvma.gov.au