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. Rabies is 100% FATAL in all domestic species including horses. Inexpensive and important- Get the vaccination! For more information, see Rabies.

** There is now a convenient vaccine called Core EQ which includes West Nile, Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis, Tetanus and Rabies. That’s ALL the CORE vaccines in one shot!**

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.


Flu/Rhino: Influenza and Rhinopneumonitis are diseases caused by viruses. Rhinopneumonitis is also called Equine Herpes Virus (EHV 1 & 4). 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 generally recommended as a yearly vaccine for all horses although there are exceptions. Those horses that travel or live in busy environments (training barns, boarding stables, etc) may require more frequent vaccination.

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.


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.


Core Vaccines: If the mare was properly vaccinated during her pregnancy (see above), the foal should receive its first set of vaccines between 5-6 months and then follow up with a second booster in 4-6 weeks. If the mare was not vaccinated prior to foaling then the foal can be vaccinated around 3-4 months of age. There is now a convenient vaccine called Core EQ which includes West Nile, Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis, Tetanus and Rabies. That’s ALL the CORE vaccines in one shot!

Flu/Rhino: Should give first shot around 9-10 months of age, followed by a second dose 3-5 weeks later.

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!***

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Exceptional Equine Veterinary Care

Weitz Equine Veterinary Services is a full service, ambulatory equine veterinary practice based out of Northfield, MN
and serving the following areas: Carver County, Dakota County, Goodhue County, Rice County & Scott County.