Feb 27, 2011

Vetting Horses

Sorry the prior post was all over the board. I should have gone on to say that while I am sad that we lost Pretty Kitty, I wasn't that attached to the cat. It can be said that I'm a dog person. I enjoy the 24/7 companionship I get from my dogs; their unconditional love. Cats? Not so much. While I enjoy having cats around the farm, I am not keen on having them indoors. But I'm a softy and when it gets so cold out, I feel better when they are inside, too. And that little one-eyed Mickey kitty has tugged at the heart strings a bit.

But about the horses….

A few weeks ago, my friend, Anita, found a skunk in her corral. It was literally between her horse's legs, biting at the pasterns. She quickly shot the skunk and called the vet. The skunk would be tested for rabies, but she was to assume it was rabid and take appropriate precautions. Luckily, her horses were all vaccinated for rabies, although she was advised to vaccinate them again that day.

I've always been good about vaccinating the horses each year with what I deem appropriate vaccines for this area. However, last year was the first year I ever vaccinated for rabies. In retrospect, that should be one of the top things I vaccinate for as it is always fatal. When I heard about Anita's horse being attacked by a skunk, I quickly checked my records to see when it was time to revaccinate, as horses need boostered once a year. I was surprised to find Windy was past due; the others were due this next month. Windy always seems to get on a different schedule; she travels more, so I use the vet more often with her because she needs health papers more frequently and sometimes it is just easier to have him do it all. Most often, though, we buy the vaccines from the local vet supply store and administer the shots to our horses.

The rabies vaccine can be purchased at the veterinary supply store. A 10 ml vial costs $22 and will vaccinate all five of my horses. It is probably one of the most inexpensive vaccines. We picked up a vial along with the other shots and today was vetting day in the barn. The weather was cold and damp and the wind blowing. The horses were all fresh but settled down to get their shots. And I am glad to have all 5 of them on the same schedule now.

Please consider vaccinating your horse for rabies or at a minimum, visit with your vet about the risks. Anita could have lost all her horses the day the rabid skunk entered her corral had they not been vaccinated for protection against rabies.


  1. Wow, that's really scary. I've cut back on vaccines. I don't give too many, too often, and I don't give any new ones. I've gotten scared about over-innoculation. One of my horses has headshaking syndrome and some people think it could be caused by over-innoculation. I've been concerned about that anyway, even before the headshaking. But I'm not against them completely and now that you mentioned rabies, I'm thinking my guys haven't had a rabies shot in a couple of years. I probably should do one.

  2. Anonymous5:50 AM

    We always do rabies and I'm always surprised when people don't do it.

  3. My horse gets rabies. When you board your horse, shots are a must. You never know what other boarders horses have been into and new horses are coming in all the time.

    Sorry about Pretty Kitty. I've had to put a couple of cats down over the years. It's a weird experience.

  4. Sorry about the loss of your cat. We have a herd health program where I board and everyone's horses get vaccinated for a variety of things each spring, in addition to getting dewormed in early summer. No exceptions. My dogs also get their vetting done in the spring.

  5. I added rabies last year with all the recent occurences in our area. I'll be doing my vaccines this week, too.

    I left you a "Stylish Award" on my blog! I enjoy reading your blogs so much!

  6. Rabies is one of the ones I always do. It's kind of a no-brainer if you have a horse that hasn't had adverse reactions to vaccines - it's fatal but preventable by the vaccine. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Nasty little skunk. We always vaccinate for rabies. Glad you got them all on the same schedule that's so much easier.

  8. That's scary!

    I'd never heard of giving rabies shots to horses until LAST year when my vet gave all the horses rabies boosters. Gosh, is it already time for shots again?

  9. Rabies shots are not given on a routine basis where I live. But I know whenever we sell horses to certain parts of the country we get them done with rabies before they go.

  10. Check with your state before you give your own rabies vacc...some states require a licensed veterinarian to administer it. In Illinois, it's illegal for me to give my own rabies vacc, but I can do all the others. So, I just have rabies done (I've had it done for YEARS, we have coons, coyotes, fox, skunks, etc. all sharing the pastures with the horses, I'd rather be safe than sorry!) when I have their Coggins pulled, and do the rest of their vaccs myself.

  11. It's legal to do your own rabies vaccine here in Virginia, but my vet warned me that if there was a rabid critter on my property that bit someone, everyone would have to be quarantined because I couldn't PROVE that I gave the shot. Something like that.

  12. OH MY, nasty thing! My mare would have done it ion far before the gun would have been brought out..she dislikes small rodents and also dogs in her immeadiate locale. I've seen her STOMP them away!

    I only heard of this rabies vaccine last year as well. I inquired and it is "optional" and not on the reccommended list for our area.
    Potomic horse fever innoculation got pulled for inland too, unless you live on a wetlands.
    Stangles got pulled for our area as well, unless the vet says outbreak and then, there is contraversy over doing it after the fact!
    Travleing to Show barns, may be a different story.

    We are traveling to Eastern Oregon for the first time. this summer, so the "East West" vacine comes into play for us this year.

    Our vets have CUT DOWN drastically on vaccinations..used to be every 6 mo. now it is once a year. Worming is the same. We TEST FECAL to see what the count is and WHAT the worms are..then we dose. So it's down to twice a year, for Worming too.


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