West Nile/Eastern/Western Encephalitis (WNEW): These diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes. Therefore, where there are mosquitoes, there is risk for these diseases. All 3 diseases cause neurological signs and can be fatal. For this reason, an annual vaccination is a must!

Tetanus: Tetanus is caused by a bacteria found everywhere in the environment. Horses are extremely sensitive to the bacteria and can develop very serious disease with only a small exposure through a cut or wound. Again, the yearly vaccination is VERY IMPORTANT. You do not want your horse to get tetanus! It is often included in one vaccination with WNEW.

Rabies: Important human health issue. Your horse is unlikely to get rabies but if it does the disease can only be diagnosed after death, potentially exposing many people to the virus. Not a good virus to have (see Old Yeller). Inexpensive and important- Get the vaccination!  For more information, see Rabies.

Flu/Rhino: Influenza and Rhinopneumonitis are diseases caused by viruses. Both diseases cause upper respiratory signs such as runny nose, cough, and fever. Both diseases occur most commonly in younger horses (1- 5 yr old) entering training. However, any horse is susceptible. Flu/Rhino is recommended as a yearly vaccine for all horses. Those horses that travel or live in busy environments (training barns, boarding stables, etc) may require more frequent vaccination.

Coggins: A coggins test is performed to test for the disease Equine Infectious Anemia. Caused by a virus transmitted by biting insects, the disease is not treatable once contracted. If you are showing or traveling to state parks or out of state a negative coggins test that is less than one year old is required. The test just requires a blood sample and the turnaround time is roughly 24 hours. Please check your current coggins so that you don’t have to call in a panic needing a coggins by yesterday!  Read more about coggins on the Services Page.


Strangles: Anyone around horses knows about strangles. This is a disease caused by bacteria which invade the upper respiratory tract causing fever, snotty nose, swollen lymph nodes, and abscesses. The vaccine is mostly recommended for horses that are showing or traveling. Outbreaks of strangles in a barn should be handled in conjunction with a veterinarian.

Potomac Horse Fever:  The disease is transmitted by mayflies and other aquatic insects. Horses kept near bodies of water may be at risk. Preventative measures can be taken to minimize exposure to the disease, the best of which is to turn out lights near the barn/feed areas at night.  For more information, see Potomac Horse Fever.

EPM: Not a very effective vaccine. Not recommended except in special circumstances. Keeping cats and vermin out of grain and hay is a good preventative strategy as the organism which causes the disease is transmitted in the feces of these animals.

Pregnant mares should get Rhino virus vaccines at 5, 7, and 9 months of pregnancy. Then at 10 months they should receive boosters for all of their vaccines. This ensures that the mare’s colostrum will be as protective as possible. This is extremely important as the colostrum ingested will be the foal’s immune system for its first few months of life. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Depending on the farm, some mares may need other vaccinations as well. The take home point is to get your mares boostered at 10 months.


WNEWT: If the mare was properly vaccinated foals should receive first shot in between 5-6 months and then follow up with a second booster in 3-5 weeks. If the mare was not vaccinated prior to foaling then the foal can be vaccinated in between 4-5 months of age.
F/R: Should give first shot around 9-10 months of age, followed by a second dose 3-5 weeks later.
Rabies: Usually give after 6 months of age.
Strangles: Hold off on giving strangles until they are almost a year old. Again 2 doses are necessary.
*** And don’t forget when the foals are born in the spring that they need to have a thorough veterinary exam including a test to make sure they received enough colostrum by approximately 12 hours after birth!***