Routine vaccinations allow us to take our horses out and about safely and ensure we don’t come back with any nasty surprises. There are two main diseases we vaccinate our horses with to give them the protection they need.

Equine Influenza:

This is a viral respiratory disease. It is very infectious and in the right conditions, can travel up to 5K from the yard it has presented on. Clinical signs include:

  • Temperature (above 39 degree’s centigrade)
  • Cough
  • Nasal discharge
  • Inappetence
  • Lethargy

An infection can result in serious immunosuppression and allows secondary bacterial infections to occur in the respiratory tract. In severe cases it can result in death. The virus adapts regularly (a little like the human flu disease) which is why regular vaccination is vital in the prevention of the disease. The vaccine is regularly updated to ensure the maximum protection is given to horses. Certain competition venues have more regular vaccination requirements and it is important that you know what they need to ensure you don’t get turned away at the door.


Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by Clostridium Tetani. Clinical signs include:

  • Severe muscle spasms, animal seems very stiff when moving and can’t move it’s facial muscles (lock jaw)
  • Sensitive to noise, wide staring/panicked look in the eye
  • To an owner, this can appear like the horse is struggling to eat, walking with a stiff gait, colicking and hunched up
  • The bacteria is endemic in UK soil and enters via wounds of any size and depth. Common histories are a foot abscess several weeks before the onset of signs in an unvaccinated horse
  • Once the clinical signs of tetanus appear it is incredibly difficult (and expensive) to treat. The majority of cases that develop clinical signs have to be euthanised even after intensive medical intervention/hospitalisation. The fatality rate is upwards of 80%

Other vaccinations:

Equine Herpes Vaccination: Equine Herpes is required for sending mares to stud and for horses competing in Europe. Feel free to talk to us about whether your horse needs this vaccine 01782 898102.