Good management and nutrition are the foundation of horse health. Maintaining a healthy horse depends a lot on the horse's environment. The more confined a horse is, and the greener its pasture, the more likely it is to contract gastrointestinal worms. The more it travels among or is exposed to other horses, the greater its chances of contracting contagious respiratory disease. Regular dental care and hoof care are also central to your horse's health. John Day River Veterinary Center provides comprehensive dental care for your horse. Strategic deworming and vaccination can help your horse thrive. The following is only a guide. Please call JDRVC for a consultation on your custom equine health program.
Gastrointestinal worms in horses can cause unthriftiness, colic, and even death. Most worms infest horses on a fecal-oral transmission cycle. This means that the less manure in the horse's environment, the less chance it will get worms. This also means that pasture rotation and deworming all horses before they are moved to a new pasture will keep worms less prevalent. For horses with very large upland pastures (hundreds of acres of dry upland) the bare minimum recommended deworming schedule is two dewormings per year: the first in spring, about a month after the grass gets green, the second in fall, after a hard killing frost, about Thanksgiving or by Christmas. More aggressive deworming is recommended for horses in stall or paddock confinement, or on irrigated meadows. More aggressive deworming schedules range from daily dewormer punctuated by broad spectrum paste wormers twice a year (spring and fall as mentioned above), to a rotation of quality dewormers every 3 months. Still, it is important to have a high quality, ivermectin-based dewormer in the spring and fall. A Panacur Power Pack can be used in place of an ivermectin-based dewormer in spring and fall.
Most vaccines are initiated with a 2-dose series. This series can start as a foal, or newly purchased adult with unkown vaccination history. In our eastern Oregon location, we recommend the following vaccines for your horse:
The first time your horse receives a tetanus vaccination, it will get a booster a month later, then annual boosters for life. Tetanus is a fatal bacterial infection that can occur with puncture wounds.
Eastern/Western Equine Encephalomyelitis (EEE/WEE)
The first time your horse receives its EEE/WEE vaccination, it will get a booster a month later, then annual boosters for life, preferably in the spring, before mosquito season. EEE and WEE are insect-born diseases of the central nervous system.
West Nile Virus (WNV)
The first time your horse receives its WNV vaccination, it will get a booster a month later, then annual boosters for life, preferably in the spring, before mosquito season. West Nile virus is a mosquito-born disease of the central nervous system.
The first time your horse receives its rabies vaccination, it will get a booster a month later, then annual boosters for life. In recent years, there have been several rabid bats in Grant County. Protecting your horse also protects you, as horses are more likely to contact rabid bats than we are. Rabies is a fatal disease of the central nervous system.
Equine Herpes virus (EHV)
The first time your horse receives its EHV vaccination, it will get a booster a month later, then annual boosters for life. EHV can cause respiratory disease (rhinopneumonitis), abortion and central nervous system disease. In horses with high exposure to other horses (performance or competition horses), EHV should be boostered every 6 months.
The first time your horse receives its killed virus influenza vaccination, it will get a booster a month later, then annual boosters for life. Influenza causes respiratory disease. In horses with high exposure to other horses (performance or competition horses), influenza should be boostered every 6 months. While most vaccines can be started young for colts, we prefer to start administering influenza vaccines closer to a year of age for youngsters, depending on their dam's vaccination status.
Strangles (Streptococcus equi)
Strangles vaccine is a modified live intranasal vaccine. You NEVER want any of this product to be injected in the muscle. We recommend you mix up and give this vaccine after you have given all other intramuscular injections. The first time your horse receives an intranasal strangles vaccine, it will get a booster a month later, then annual boosters for life. Again, with heavy exposure to other horses, strangles can be boostered every 6 months. Strangles is a bacterial respiratory disease.
JDRVC carries a full line of horse vaccines and dewormers including Prestige V, Prestige V + WN, West Nile, Tetanus Toxoid, Pneumabort K + 1b, Fluvac, Eqvalan, Zimetrin Gold, Quest Plus, Panacur Power Pack, and Strongid.