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Vaccine Time!
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Vaccine Time!

There are quite a lot of things to think about when caring for a horse. First, there is the right type of food. Afterwards, exercise and bathing are needed, and perhaps shelter if either you or the horse (or both) prefer it this way. Then, there is the role of adequate health care to ensure your four-legged babies don't become ill, or at the very least, to avoid seeing them become sick as much as possible. Furthermore, as for humans, some of the equine diseases are contagious, and it is best to ensure your animal does not catch another horse's sickness during a competition or a show.

West Virginia University published a list of ways to keep your horse healthy and happy, and here are a few of the tips they mentioned. Also, this advice is good for all types of equine.

There are a few things you can do yourself. You can verify your horse's temperature rectally (well, if your horse is well‑behaved, that is) and it should read 99.5 to 101.3°F. The heart rate for adults should be at 28 to 40, for foals 6 to 8 months at 45 to 60, and at 100 for newborns. Their breathing rate is at 8 to 16 breaths per minute.

Also, it is recommended to keep track of the horse's vaccines. The frequency depends on the purpose of the horse: whether it is a work, performance, show horse, or just a pet, will mean that some vaccines need to be administered a bit more often. Here is a short schedule for some of the most common ones.

Equine Encephalomyelitis: annually (during spring) or every six months

Equine Viral Rhinopneumonitis: Show Horses – every 3 to 6 months; pleasure and work – biannually

Influenza: performance and show – every 3 to 6 months; pleasure and work – biannually

Potomac Horse Fever: annually

Tetanus: annually

West Nile Virus: annually (initial shot followed by 3-month booster)

Rabies: annually, if risk is high

Strangles: semi-annually, if risk is high

This schedule is different for pregnant mares and foals. Consult your veterinary for more details.

Although this schedule is the norm, there may be reasons to vaccinate more or less often, depending on the type of horse you have and your living situation. Always consult a veterinary in case of doubt.

 

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